WPP Closes In on TNS

NEW YORK While the deal is essentially a fait accompli, WPP Group has extended for one last time, until Oct. 29, its offer to buy out Taylor Nelson Sofres shareholders, the holding company said today.

Shareholders accounting for almost 92 percent of TNS stock have agreed to accept the $1.9 billion offer, WPP said.

The holding company also confirmed today that it would move to delist TNS shares from trading shortly after its offer closes next week. The company said it would exercise its right to acquire any remaining TNS shares that fail to accept the buyout offer. Under U.K. law, WPP gained the right to do so once the acceptance level for its offer surpassed 90 percent.

WPP went hostile with an offer to TNS in August after TNS management rebuffed several “friendly” bids. But when it became clear last month that no other offers were forthcoming, and that WPP would not increase the price of its bid, TNS executives relented and recommended that shareholders sell out.

Once the deal goes through, WPP will integrate TNS into its Kantar Group market research division.