London-headquartered Tempus Group, parent of global media buyer CIA Medianetwork, yesterday posted its H1 results, 3% down to £10.2 million ($14.9m) profit before tax and exceptional items.

The half-year, said Tempus, reflected one of the most difficult periods to confront the world’s advertising industry, in the light of which it plans stringent reductions in its cost base.

Chairman/founder Chris Ingram also signalled his willingness to integrate with WPP Group if it proceeds with its £5.55 per share offer. Tempus, he said was “looking forward” to this – a reversal of his previous stance in which he publicly expressed his reluctance to work with Sir Martin Sorrell. Tempus “had no reason to believe” WPP would fail get the 90% of acceptances required by next week’s deadline.

However, there is still widespread speculation that WPP may pull out of the deal [WAMN: 24-Sep-01]. According to Simon Lapthorne, an analyst at Old Mutual Securities, WPP will be wondering whether withdrawal from the deal would dissipate profits from its 25% per cent stake in Tempus. However, a “broadly worded” clause in the offer document might provide a gateway through which WPP could exit the deal if it wished.

Tempus shares slipped marginally by 2.5p to 425p in London yesterday afternoon, while WPP shares were over 3.5% down at £5.065.

News source: Financial Times