LONDON: The moving finger writes and having writ … spells a worsening outlook for Taylor Nelson Sofres' future as an independent entity.

WPP Group now claims to hold acceptances from TNS shareholders for 178.9 million shares, equating to 42.87% of the market researcher's share capital.

Last Friday that figure stood at just 33.76%, causing WPP ceo Sir Martin Sorrell to further postpone the acceptance deadline to October 3.

Despite protestations by the TNS board that WPP's £1.1 billion ($1.98b; €1.38bn) hostile bid undervalues the company, Sorrell insists that the offer provides a substantial premium for TNS stockholders both with "cash certainty and potential equity upside".

Meantime, the war of nerves continues, with a diminishing number of TNS shareholders hanging-on to their shares in the hope that Sorrell will up the ante at the eleventh hour. Roll 'em!

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff