Jermey Warner's Outlook: Sorrell faces up to Taylor Nelson merger

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The Independent Online

Know your rival is the best defence in any takeover battle. Donald Brydon, the veteran City fund manager who chairs the market research company Taylor Nelson Sofres, will know the characteristics of Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, only too well.

One of them is that when Sir Martin sets his mind on a target he never gives up until he has secured his prey, so details of Taylor Nelson's agreed merger with Germany's GfK yesterday are unlikely to deter him in pursuing a rival takeover bid.

As he has demonstrated in selling Amersham, Allied Domecq and ScottishPower, Mr Brydon is unsentimental in these matters. If Sir Martin comes up with an offer Mr Brydon thinks will deliver more value to his shareholders than GfK, he'll abandon the German merger. The ball is in Sir Martin's court.

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