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WPP cheered the City yesterday as its half-year profits surged almost 20 per cent to £429m and the advertising giant promised to keep raising the dividend.

WPP predicts fall in 2009 revenue and warns of jobs losses

The advertising and public affairs giant WPP yesterday predicted a 2 per cent fall in 2009 sales as advertising continues to suffer from troubled firms reining in their spending on marketing and promotions.

Davos diary: 31/01/2009

It's your own time you're wasting, son

Niall Ferguson has obviously learnt a trick or two about dealing with unruly students during his many years in academia. The economic historian's lecture yesterday was fascinating stuff, but one audience memberclearly had his mind on other things, tapping wilfully away on hisBlackberry for much of the seminar. Unfazed, Ferguson addressed the miscreant directly. "I don't care how important whatever you're writing on that Blackberry is," Ferguson told him. "It won't be as important as what I'm about to say."

Jeremy Warner: In downbeat Davos, the happy capitalist is hard to find

Outlook If you want to cheer yourself up amidst all the economic gloom and doom, visit the World Economic Forum annual meeting here in Davos, where the mood is one of unrelenting "can do" optimism, as you would expectof business leaders for whom no challenge is too great.

Scardino and Sorrell disclose loans to FSA

As the disclosures of share-secured loans taken out by various company directors was made before yesterday's deadline, Dame Marjorie Scardino and the advertising guru Sir Martin Sorrell were among the directors whose loans were revealed.

WPP warns of 'very tough' 2009

Strong growth outside Europe and the US has buoyed its sales figures

WPP refuses to raise £1.1bn offer for TNS

Sir Martin Sorrell issues 'take it or leave it' message to rebel shareholders in Taylor Nelson Sofres as he tries to end bid battle

German firm GfK pulls out of TNS takeover

GfK, the German market information group, has pulled out of the running to take over Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS), its UK counterpart, leaving Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP Group as the only (hostile) bid in town.

Advertising giant to woo TNS shareholders despite downturn

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, is expected to set out his stall for a takeover of market research group Taylor Nelson Sofres this week, as the advertising giant posts what is forecast to be a slump in interim results when it reports on Friday.

WPP makes hostile bid for TNS as GfK rallies rival private equity cash offer

The battle for TNS is hotting up: WPP has made a hostile £1.1bn bid for the company; the plans for a TNS-GfK merger have been pulled; and GfK is trying to put together private equity funding for an all-cash offer instead.

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: TNS: Sir Martin is still falling short

Taylor Nelson Sofres, the market research group, is right to reject Sir Martin Sorrell's latest takeover approach, despite the fact that in these markets, the mooted 260p a share might seem worth having. It's a big premium to where the shares were before the takeover spat began and to where they are likely to fall back to if Sir Martin decides to throw in the towel. Even capitalising the promised synergies, the board's preferred merger with GfK of Germany is in the short term unlikely to deliver as much value. So why do I say stick with TNS?

WPP's third bid for TNS is rejected

The tussle between WPP and TNS over the market research company's future took another twist yesterday with TNS's swift rejection of the advertising giant's third takeover proposal.

Winston Fletcher: Hard sell, soft options

Does this 'inside story' of advertising from one of its gurus wash whiter? Stephen Bayley hears the pitch

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

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.

Jeremy Warner's Outlook: Is Britain heading for a hard landing?

Is the British economy about to fall off a cliff? That's not the story told by the latest GDP figures, which show that, though activity is definitely slowing, the economy was still a robust 2.5 per cent bigger in the first quarter than a year earlier.

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