Tempus results spark cost-cutting overhaul

Tempus Group, which is the target of a takeover offer by Sir Martin

Sorrell's WPP, has made substantial job cuts after profits fell during

the first six months of the year.

The media group, which owns CIA and several branding and digital

consultancies, is cutting 5 per cent of its workforce, a total of 130

jobs, mainly from its US and digital operations. It blamed the current

downturn in business confidence and subsequent cancellation of

advertising campaigns for a 3 per cent fall in profits to £10.2


Following last week's decision by Havas to pull out of the bidding for

Tempus, the board of Tempus has recommended that shareholders accept the

WPP offer of 555p a share.

WPP has set a deadline of Monday for acceptance of its offer by


However, doubts have been cast on the deal going ahead.

Chris Ingram, the chairman of Tempus, said: "The management of all our

companies is committed to working with WPP to successfully integrate our


CIA profits fell globally by 6 per cent to £7.9 million, because

of added costs and a slowdown in new-business wins. Net client wins for

CIA totalled £156 million in billings, against £242 million

for the same period last year.

The digital agency Outrider was the hardest hit of Tempus' divisions,

with operating losses increasing by 19 per cent to £1 million. The

headcount at Outrider has fallen from 300 to 190 globally.

In a bid to offer clients a more streamlined service, Tempus is

restructuring its operations into two divisions.

CIA and Outrider will form its "connectivity division" with Added Value,

Brown KSDP and Tempus Partners forming the "branding division". Tempus

also expects to create cost savings from the move.

Commenting on the results, Ingram said: "They are a solid set of

results. I wouldn't call them scintillating, but then I haven't seen any

scintillating results this year in our sector. I assume that the

advertising recession is going to continue and the situation may

possibly get worse for all of us, so we have to be vigilant on the cost