Cites Deteriorating Economy

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LONDON (AdAgeGlobal.com) -- Havas Advertising informed the London Stock Exchange today that it does not intend to extend the period for acceptance of its offer for Tempus Group after the next closing date on Sept. 24.

The offer is therefore expected to lapse on that date, leaving WPP's offer on the plate.

WPP declined to comment about what it intends to do with its outstanding offer.

Following the announcement by the Havas board, Tempus informed the London Stock Exchange minutes before noon London time that it had agreed to recommend that shareholders accept WPP's cash offer, as management intends to do in respect of their own legal and beneficial shareholdings, representing 20.1% of the Tempus share capital. WPP's offer closes Oct. 1

A source close to the French holding company says Havas' initial bid was at a 50% premium even before the terrorist attacks in the U.S. sent share prices of advertising and media companies plummeting.

By this afternoon in London, several hours after Havas announced its decision, the FTSE 100 index had dropped from 4,540 to 4,250 in what observers were describing as "panic selling."

Havas said in a statement today that when the offer was launched July 19 it was then considered by the Group to be a full and fair offer.

"Market conditions have clearly deteriorated significantly since that time, as evidenced by the postponement of a number of advertising and media campaigns," the company said.

The statement went on to say that the bleak economic outlook "has been exacerbated by the tragic events of the last ten days in the USA, contributing to a further lack of visibility for the future, particularly in the American, but also other markets."

Commenting on the decision, Havas Chairman-CEO Alain de Pouzilhac said, "To make a higher bid would be unreasonable in an environment which is getting worse by the day and which has been hit even harder by the recent terrible events in the USA. I would like to thank all the Tempus managers who have supported our offer, which made complete strategic sense."

Mr. de Pouzilhac also expressed confidence in Havas' existing media planning and buying operations.

Earlier this week WPP appeared intent on buying the holding company for media buying and planning specialist CIA.

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