A two-day board meeting called for November 12 and 13 by WPP Group chairman Philip Lader to discuss its takeover bid for Tempus Group, is not an “emergency” measure, insisted an incognito insider yesterday. “We’re having a meeting about the context of Tempus as a whole,” he [or she] ameliorated.

The anonymous informant apart, no-one at the world’s second largest advertising company was prepared to comment on the reasons behind the meeting – called at unusually short notice. It is likely, however, that it was triggered by delivery of the Takeover Panel’s formal written reasons for rejecting WPP’s plea to nullify the bid [WAMN: 01-Nov-01].

Reading between the lines of AdWeek’s interview with ‘a source’, the meeting could result in a stand-off between chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell – who appears doggedly determined not to be hoist with his own petard over the Tempus affair – and a number of WPP doves who will argue for a the deal’s acceptance forthwith and a healing of the growing disenchantment of Tempus staffers.

“If WPP simply agrees to drop its appeal and accept the purchase of Tempus without further prompting from outside officials like the Takeover Panel, I think that would help bring about a smoother integration of the two companies rather than if he [Sorrell] is dragged kicking and screaming to the altar until the bitter end,” said the source.

News source: AdWeek.com