TNS rejects WPP

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The Independent Online

Taylor Nelson Sofres, the consumer research company, has rejected a 230p-a-share takeover proposal from WPP, the advertising and communications giant.

TNS announced last night that its board had unanimously rejected WPP's approach, valuing TNS at about £950m, which was made on Saturday. WPP proposed paying 154p in cash and 0.1214 WPP shares for each TNS share, a 7 per cent premium to TNS's closing price on Friday.

TNS also said it had rejected an earlier unsolicited proposal from WPP to reverse WPP's Kantar business into TNS. The plan would have given WPP control of the enlarged group without paying a premium, TNS said.

A bid from WPP could disrupt TNS's talks to merge with GfK of Germany. TNS said it had made "significant progress" on the potential benefits of the merger and that an announcement would be made soon.

Donald Brydon, chairman of TNS, said: "The board has no hesitation in rejecting this opportunistic proposal as it substantially undervalues the company."

TNS researches consumer habits for clients such as Procter & Gamble and Nestlé. The proposed tie-up with GfK would allow the combined group to extend coverage in fast-growing markets in Asia, Latin America and eastern Europe, they said last week.

TNS is being advised by JPMorgan Cazenove and Deutsche Bank. The company's shares rose 2.4 per cent to 215p on Friday.

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