Few doubted that Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP group would launch an
immediate appeal against last Thursday's decision by the Takeover Panel
to reject its attempt to pull out of its £434 million agreed offer
for Tempus. The appeal may be lengthy, for Sorrell is not one to give up
without a fight, but it is unlikely to be successful.
Sorrell may have to admit that he has been wrong-footed by a market that
was already turbulent before the 11 September terrorist attacks.
Now we must look at the future and what this means for WPP, for Tempus
and for its founder, Chris Ingram.
For WPP, whose share price rose 34p to 593p last week when it issued
third-quarter results that were no worse than expected, the Tempus
acquisition comes at the wrong price but is strategically sound and
small in terms of the group's global gameplan. Tempus' CIA network,
whose strength is in Europe, makes a sound fit with WPP's The Media
Edge, which is concentrated in the US. It is ironic that only three
years ago, when Y&R was an independent group, Tempus spent months
exploring the possibility of merging CIA with The Media Edge.
For Tempus, which has finally lost the independence of which it was once
so proud, it is no secret that its preferred partner was Havas, but the
only thing to do now is look forward.
By joining WPP, CIA and its Outrider subsidiary have the chance to
become a truly global network of real scale in a matter of months. On
the branding side, Tempus will be joining a group that has invested
substantially in the sector and understands its importance to
As for the chairman of Tempus, Ingram, his views on Sorrell are well
known. The big question is whether the man who founded CIA back in 1976
will stay or go - and, if he goes, what the effect will be on
Ingram already has fingers in several media-related pies and many
private investments, so he could happily wile away his intellectual zeal
with or without a day job at WPP if needs be.
Whatever the outcome, Ingram can be proud of building a business from
nothing that two major global businesses have been fighting over in
recent months and he will pick up almost £63 million as his