LONDON: UK market research giant Taylor Nelson Sofres and German rival GfK are mulling a merger that would create the world's second biggest market and information firm, with combined revenues of £1.9 billion ($3.7bn; €2.39bn).
If the union goes ahead the business will be named GfK-TNS, to be led by current TNS ceo David Lowden; while GfK chairman Hajo Riesenbeck and TNS chairman Donald Brydon would co-chair a single board. Global headquarters would be in London with a major office in Nurnberg.
A merger would allow the firms to challenge market leader, The Nielsen Company, and to spread their specific expertise in the consumer, technology, media and healthcare sectors over emerging markets.
However, some analysts say the move could put TNS "in play" for an approach by rivals such as marketing communications conglomerate WPP Group.
Comments Numis analyst Paul Richards:
"Whenever you see a nil premium merger it does put the companies in play.
"WPP has long wanted to increase its exposure to the quantitative areas of market research and has the strength of balance sheet to look at TNS. It's probably a case of now or never."
Data sourced from mrweb.com and Telegraph.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff