GfK says no certainty about bid for TNS

LONDON - German market research firm GfK now says there is no certainty that it will launch a bid to rival WPP Group for TNS.

Yesterday, GfK terminated its proposed nil-premium merger with TNS and said it was "actively pursuing a proposal" that would involve an alternative all-cash offer being made for the British firm.

GfK said yesterday: "While negotiations are at an early stage, GfK has received a strong indication of interest in this transaction. The form of consideration being considered is all cash, although the formal right to vary this is reserved."

Reports today claimed GfK might turn to wealthy German families for some of the £1.1bn cash needed to buy TNS and outbid Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP.

Brother and sister Gunter and Daniela Herz, who own an investment company called Mayfair, have been linked with GfK. They have money from selling out of Tchibo, the coffee chain founded by their father, and from selling a large stake in sportswear company Puma.

David Lowden, the TNS chief executive, told shareholders to reject the WPP bid and support the GfK offer.

Today GfK clarified that position and said there was no certainty about its bid.