Post-attack stock market paroxysms caused a 25% dive in Tempus Group’s share price since Havas Advertising pulled out of its battle with WPP Group for control of the international media-buying specialist [WAMN:21-Sep-01].

According to speculators, both figurative and literal, WPP will use the Tempus share dive as an excuse to quit the running with dignity intact.

Opines one forgetful entrail-raker, Lorna Tilbian, a media analyst with stockbroker Numis: “Martin did not initiate this, he responded to Havas's offer. He got himself into a win-win situation, but now things have changed he can walk away without losing face.”

Added the seer [who had apparently forgotten Sorrell’s progressive building of a beachhead stake in Tempus over a couple of years]: “The market seems to be betting WPP will be able to get out of this, and the market is seldom wrong about these things.”

Meantime, in the real world, senior executives of both groups are expected to meet this week to discuss WPP’s offer which closes October 1.

News sources:; Wall Street Journal