WPP launches sixth and formal hostile bid for TNS

The WPP Group has made a formal hostile bid for taking over market-research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS).

In a statement, WPP announced that an offer document containing the formal offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of TNS ''is being posted today," valuing the company at $2.28 billion.

A WPP spokesperson said the complete offer document was sent to shareholders of TNS, and will be viewable on WPP's website in some time.

TNS shareholders have until 29 August to accept WPP's bid.

WPP last bid, and fifth in its series to take over TNS, valued the company at $2.13 billion, and was rejected by TNS's board at the beginning of July when TNS also negated a possible merger with German research firm GfK AG at about the same time.

GfK is still currently pursuing an all-cash offer for TNS. In response to WPP's latest announcement, GfK issued a statement asking TNS investors not to make any decision basis WPP's offer while it continues to survey its own takeover bid, adding that discussions with regard to a possible offer 'are progressing positively' even though it cautioned that it did not give any assurance of an offer being made.

If WPP were to successfully acquire TNS, it would create the largest marketing services company globally, and the second largest market research entity after Neilsen.

For its part, TNS re-advised its shareholders to reject WPP latest offer.