LONDON: Minutes before today's 7.30am deadline imposed by Britain's Takeover Panel, WPP Group confirmed it had launched a hostile £1.08 billion bid for compatriot market research giant Taylor Nelson Sofres.

TNS is currently is currently engaged in negotiations for an agreed merger with German rival GfK Verein.

WPP intends to finance the offer with a new debt facility from its relationship banks, which include Royal Bank of Scotland, HSBC and Morgan Stanley.

WPP ceo Sir Martin Sorrell (pictured above) reportedly spent the day in meetings with TNS shareholders to solicit backing for his approach.

This morning's eleventh-hour move suggests he received a sympathetic hearing.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff