Publicis SA, Paris, filed a formal merger offer for True North Communications, a move some stock market observers predicted will kill the chances of closing True North's acquisition of Bozell, Jacobs, Kenyon & Eckhardt this month. Publicis offered to buy 9.6 million shares of True North at $28 per share, giving it a controlling majority. The offer includes a provision to merge the two companies if True North will cancel the BJK&E deal and requests that True North entertain other bidders' offers as well. Both sides are due in U.S. district court in Chicago Friday, where Publicis is seeking an injunction to block True North's December shareholder meeting and True North is pressing a countersuit. "No shareholders are going to vote for the Bozell deal now that a tender offer is on the table," said one professional investor Thursday. "[True North] will have to find a white knight or work something out." True North's stock rose $1.25 by 3 p.m. EST to $26.375.
Copyright December 1997, Crain Communications Inc.