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(Sept. 4, 2001) LONDON -- French marketing communications group Havas Advertising announced today it has extended its offer for U.K.-based media buying and planning specialist Tempus Group to Sept. 17.

On July 19, Havas made an offer of 541 pence per share for Tempus, a high 50% premium to the Tempus share price of 360.5 pence on July 18, the last day before Havas announced that Tempus management had agreed to its offer.

However, on Aug. 20 WPP Group made a counter cash offer of 555 pence per share, valuing the holding company for CIA at approximately $630 million.

In response to WPP's counteroffer, Tempus said it will hold discussions with each bidder and withdrew its recommendation to shareholders that they accept the original Havas offer.

Following WPP's counterbid, Havas extended the closing date for its original cash offer to Sept. 3. With today's announcement, Havas' offer will be extended and remains open for acceptance until 3 p.m. Sept. 17, unless extended further.

Havas also informed the London Stock Exchange today that as of Sept. 3 it "owns, controls, has received valid acceptances or has received irrevocable undertakings in respect of the Offer totaling 22,155,645 Tempus Shares, representing in aggregate approximately 29.3% of Tempus' issued share capital."

It's expected that Havas Chairman-CEO Alain de Pouzilhac will top WPP's counteroffer. Havas has the weakest media specialist offering of the world's big communications holding companies. Only recently did it take full control of Spanish-based media specialist Media Planning Group.

For its part, WPP says that CIA, Tempus' media planning and buying business, will enhance the Media Edge, part of WPP's media investment management division, creating the world's fourth-largest media buying network. WPP currently owns approximately 22% of Tempus' existing issued share capital, having acquired this shareholding at an average price of 240 pence per share. If its current bid is successful, WPP's average cost per Tempus share will be 450 pence and its total cost of investment will be approximately $556 million. -- Bill Britt

Copyright September 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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