WPP to acquire Taylor Nelson | FT Alphaville

WPP to acquire Taylor Nelson

Taylor Nelson Sofres, the UK marketing research group, on Monday capitulated in its bid battle with WPP after it recommended that shareholders accept Sir Martin Sorrell’s £1.2bn offer. Donald Brydon, chairman of TNS, said the board had not recommended the offer sooner because “it wasn’t clear where we were going to end up”. WPP launched a hostile bid for TNS in July and announced Friday it had secured acceptances from 61% of shareholders. TNS said it still believed WPP’s offer undervalued the company but that it did not want TNS investors left holding minority interests in an unlisted company. Sir Martin, WPP’s chief executive, needs 90% of the share capital to squeeze out minority shareholders but he can delist TNS from the stock market if more than 75% of equity shareholders accept the offer. WPP has offered 173p in cash and 0.1889 of a new WPP share for every TNS share. The offer values TNS at 260.7p based on Friday’s closing price and represents a 21% premium to the closing price on May 2, just before TNS announced it had received a proposal from WPP.