WPP adds four executives <BR>to the board of Tempus

LONDON - WPP Group has added four of its own executives to the board of Tempus, following last week's decision to move ahead with the £434m deal to buy the media-buying firm.

Three of the executives joining are from The Media Edge, the Young & Rubicam media-buying arm that WPP intends to merge with CIA to form the world's fourth-largest media-planning and buying company. Also joining is WPP deputy finance director Christopher Sweetland.

The three Media Edge executives are: Charles Courtier, chief executive of The Media Edge; Hans-Willem Germeraad, head of The Media Edge's European business; and Tom Handy, finance director of The Media Edge.

Their appointment to the Tempus board marks the beginning of the merger process of the two agencies, which will eventually create a media-buying company with billings of £12.2bn.

Last week, WPP bowed to the will of the Takeover Panel and notified the panel that it did not intend to appeal against the committee's decision that it should complete its acquisition of Tempus.

WPP said that throughout the long-running process, the board of WPP remained convinced of the long-term strategic benefits of combining WPP with Tempus. Particularly, it said, in connection with the merger of CIA and its media-buying unit The Media Edge.

WPP had, in the run-up to last week's decision to go through with the deal, extended its deadline several times as it waited for the panel to come to a decision.

The panel rejected WPP's argument that it should be allowed to back out of its 555p-a-share bid for Tempus by invoking the material adverse change clause. The clause was invoked on the basis that the situation has changed significantly following the dramatic fall in world markets after the events of September 11.

The panel told WPP that its case was weakened by its purchase of a further 3% of Tempus stock after September 11. This raised its stake in Tempus from the 22% it bought earlier this year to 26%.

If you have an opinion on this or any other issue raised on Brand Republic, join the debate in the Forum here.