Well, perhaps not precisely in those words!

But what Chris Ingram, founder and ceo of the Tempus Group, did make abundantly clear yesterday was that he would resign if WPP Group won any counter-bid for Tempus, overturning the £425 million deal agreed with Havas Advertising [WAMN: 19 & 23-Jul-01].

But as yet there has been no word from WPP about its intentions. As Tempus’ largest shareholder with a 22% stake, WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrel is playing a waiting game – an activity at which he is a grandmaster. Insiders believe he relishes the opportunity to make Ingram sweat, there being little love lost between the two men who have publicly exchanged taunts on many occasions.

Although Ingram’s vow to quit is unlikely to cause Sorrell any lost sleep the smart money is on Ingram. Many analysts and industry observers believe that Sir Martin faces an uphill struggle in persuading WPP shareholders they should pay a premium price for Tempus in what some see as a mainly personal quest.

News source: CampaignLive (UK)