TNS advises shareholders on merits of GfK merger

LONDON - Donald Brydon, the chairman of TNS, has told the company's shareholders that its proposed merger with German rival GfK "provides a unique opportunity", as Sir Martin Sorrell decides whether to make a fresh bid for the market research firm.

The comments by Brydon were made in a circular to shareholders, which also includes a trading update for TNS for the first five months to May 31 2008.

Brydon said the proposed merger "provides a unique opportunity to create a major new force in the market information industry".

He added: "By bringing together the complementary geographic networks, sector specialisations and service offerings of GfK and TNS, GfK-TNS will provide a new sector-led approach for clients, integrating syndicated and custom services. This will create new, exciting opportunities for GfK-TNS employees."

Brydon also says in the document that the proposed merger will deliver significant value to shareholders at both TNS and GfK, through enhanced business opportunities and substantial operating efficiencies.

In terms of trading during the last five months, TNS reported actual revenue growth of almost 20%, with underlying revenue growth for the period of around 6%.

Looking ahead, the market research firm said current forecasts indicate similar underlying revenue performance for the year as a whole, with a continued strong performance in Europe, Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Africa and modest growth in North America.

David Lowden, the chief executive of TNS, said: "With an underlying improvement of around 6%, we are ahead of estimated market growth.

"What is more, our current forecasts indicate that we will deliver similar levels of underlying growth for the full year."

The TNS statement comes after Sir Martin Sorrell, WPP chief executive, renewed his call to get more information from TNS as he weighs up whether to make a fresh bid for the market research company.

Sorrell met with TNS management last week and presented them with a list of 188 questions about the business.

The WPP boss is after the same data that GfK has received.