GfK Ends Bid For TNS — All Clear For WPP Takeover?

German audience measurement firm GfK appears to be withdrawing its bid for British research company Taylor Nelson Sofres, according to Reuters, which cited a story in Germany’s Manager magazine based on unidentified sources. GfK is said to be dropping its bid because Apax, the PE firm that agreed to help back it in the deal, began making demands for extensive control over the merger. The German company started to get cold feet last month, when UK ad holding company WPP Group began maneuvering for a hostile takeover of TNS. WPP had sent TNS a formal offer for a 264.2p-per-share offer that values TNS at £1.158 billion – a 55 percent premium from April 28, when TNS said it would merge with GfK.

That led GfK to rethink the combination of equals that was originally being worked out in May. That deal had been valued at