NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Taylor Nelson Sofres yesterday said it is holding talks with Interpublic Group of Cos. regarding the possible sale of the holding company's NFO WorldGroup unit.
Interpublic Moves to Refinance Debt
To Sell up to $800 Million in Convertible Notes
Embattled Interpublic Reaches Terms With Creditors
Pending Sale of NFO Would Help Pay Down $2.9 Billion Debt Load
IPG Puts NFO WorldGroup on the Block
Hires Goldman Sachs to 'Explore Strategic Alternatives'
Interpublic, parent of global advertising agency networks McCann-Erickson Worldwide and Foote, Cone & Belding Worldwide, put NFO WorldGroup, one of the world's largest market research firms, on the block in an effort to sell non-core businesses and reduce its debt.
Dismisses reported price tag
In a statement, Taylor Nelson Sofres said that "it should be noted that the price currently under discussion is below the $500 million level quoted in previous press reports."
An Interpublic spokesman declined to comment.
Interpublic, looking for a way to generate cash to pay down debt, officially put NFO up for sale in January. It has said it hopes to complete a sale of NFO in the second quarter.
Interpublic bought NFO in April 2000 for $493 million in Interpublic stock plus $180 million in debt on NFO's balance sheet.
United Business Media had been seen as frontrunner to buy NFO, but Taylor Nelson now emerges as the most likely prospect to buy the research firm. One individual said a deal still could be several weeks way.