TNS and GfK announce merger of equals


After rejecting an unsolicited bid from WPP Group earlier this month, Taylor Nelson Sofres has announced a deal to merge with GfK to create a worldwide giant in market research, second only to The Nielsen Company. Even so, many analysts are expecting WPP Group to come back with hostile bid to break up the proposed marriage.

London-based TNS will issue new shares to Nuremberg, Germany-based GfK shareholders in the proposed merger and the new company, with annual revenues of over $4.2 billion will be known as GfK-TNS. Its headquarters will be in London and the company will have operations. Current GfK shareholders will wind up owning approximately 50% of the new company and TNS shareholders the same.

The two research companies noted that they each grew organic revenues by about 5% last year. Together, they say they will be better positioned to meet client needs in an increasingly global and digital environment. They say the merger will allow them to cut costs and increase revenues by rolling out existing products and services across a larger network and create new services from their combined expertise.

Closing of the merger is expected in Q4. That is, unless it comes down to a takeover battle with WPP Group.