TNS Urges Shareholders to Reject WPP's $2B Offer

Chairman Says 'Now Is Not the Time to Sell' Market-Research Company

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- Taylor Nelson Sofres is strongly urging shareholders to reject WPP Group's $2 billion offer for the company ahead of tomorrow's deadline for the deal.

TNS Chairman Donald Brydon insisted TNS has a stand-alone future. "Notwithstanding the extreme volatility of today's financial markets, the TNS board is very confident in TNS' ability to create substantial shareholder value," he said in a statement. "We have a sound strategy, which is delivering results. We firmly believe now is not the time to sell the company."

Shareholders must decide by 3 p.m. (10 a.m. New York time) tomorrow whether to accept or reject WPP's offer.

With earnings-per-share growth of more than 20% in 2007 and for the six months ending June 30 of this year, TNS is playing hard to get. The board issued a statement claiming that WPP's offer "fails to take into account how well the business is performing and its position as market leader in the fast-growing market-information industry."

WPP Group insiders believe that TNS is in reality up for sale, and that the company's high share price is a reflection of WPP's interest in the business and not the company's performance alone. They say that TNS no longer has many long-term investors and that shares will crash if the deal does not go though tomorrow.

The European Commission cleared the way for the deal late Tuesday, as long as WPP commits to selling off TNS-owned Television Audience Measurement services in Europe and a TNS market-research business in Ireland.
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