WPP won’t be left out of takeover drama

May 6, 2008

It may not seem as sexy as Yahoo-Microsoft, but there is another notable takeover saga brewing in media. This one is between WPP, the British advertising group, and Taylor Nelson Sofres, the market research firm.

Why does WPP want TNS badly enough that it continued to urge the research firm to engage in talks even after its $1.9 billion bid had been rejected?

It’s partly because research has become so much more essential to advertising these days. With so many media outlets, it doesn’t come as a shock that advertisers are desperate for more information about their products and markets.

WPP Chief Executive Martin Sorrell expressed surpise and disappointment that the board of TNS turned down WPP’s offer. But perhaps this is just a bit of cat-and-mouse, with WPP prepared to come back with a bigger number for TNS, which is also talking with Germany’s Gfk. 

“Given the potential for greater returns, we believe WPP could afford a higher offer,” analysts at UBS said in a note to clients.

Of course, nearly everyone was saying the same thing about Microsoft over the last few weeks, and we know where that went.


Keep an eye on:

  • NBC Universal has reach an exclusive deal with with the “Project Runway” production team, less than a month after it was outbid for rights to the cable show by Lifetime Networks. Now a new production team has to be put in place. (LA Times
  • Microsoft is adding TV shows to its Zune marketplace, offering rougly 800 TV shows, each for $1.99, for download from places such as Comedy Central, MTV and NBCU. (paidContent)
  • CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason, meeting with advertisers, dismissed the notion that the iPod and satellite radio will kill radio. “To say that an iPod or satellite radio, with little or no human connection will ever replace radio is absurd.” (paidContent)

(Photo: Reuters)

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