WPP Group’s widely anticipated counter-bid for the reluctant hand of Tempus Group was formally lodged yesterday on terms seemingly identical to Sir Martin Sorrell’s so-called “friendly” offer last week of £5.55 per share [WAMN: 16-Aug-01].

The move is almost certain to trigger an increased offer from Havas Advertising – which many onlookers believe to be the sapient Sorrell’s gameplan. As a 22% shareholder in Tempus, Sir Martin and WPP will benefit whatever the outcome.

WPP’s formal bid coincided with the announcement of better than expected pre-tax profits, up from a predicted £245 million to £247.6m ($356.5m). The figures were accompanied by a warning that conditions in the world advertising market are worsening.

News source: Financial Times