WPP’s TNS Bid – Can Sorrell Count On A Rebel Within?

This WSJ.com article doesn’t add much news to WPP’s ongoing bid for market research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) – but it does posit one way Sir Martin Sorrell may overcome the so-far resistant TNS bosses. Arguing he “may have a base of support among TNS’ own shareholders”, WSJ.com points to fund manager Parus Shah of 12.5 percent stakeholder Fidelity Investments, who “supported activists several years ago who were pushing Dutch market-research titan VNU to sell the company”.

WPP’s overtures for TNS, which would create the world’s second-largest market research firm, have been rebuffed three times already, and TNS shareholders meet in July to discuss the bids. Despite TNS having agreed to merge with GfK, it’s thought likely WPP will make an improved offer, though last week Sorrell’s mind was split three ways on what he thought the likely outcome would be.