London-based market research firm TNS rejected a fifth bid from ad conglomerate WPP, and in a weird twist, said it had also terminated a planned merger with German research firm GfK, the WSJ reports. WPP’s latest bid for TNS — this one hostile — was a cash-and-stock deal worth $2.13 billion.
But TNS said WPP’s latest bid, like the others before it, “substantially undervalues” the company. Meanwhile, GfK says it is pursuing a second all-cash bid for TNS, rather than the all-stock deal that was dropped. Negotiations are at an early stage, the company says, but claims it has received “a strong indication of interest” in the transaction.
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