Young & Rubicam is believed to have made proposals in the past two months to buy Tempus Group at 350p a share, valuing the company at £218m.
Y&R’s bid would have represented a fair price for the company at the beginning of June, as the share price was about 290p at the time.
However, since then, Tempus Group’s shares have risen by more than 70p to reach a high of 363p.
Tempus Group chairman Chris Ingram says: “We’ve had approaches from several major groups. Nobody has made an offer that has caught our imagination.”
Y&R chief operating officer Ed Vick refutes suggestions that a bid is on the table: “We’ve had conversations but we have not made a bid.”
If Y&R has tabled a bid it may now have to reconsider or walk away and risk another company moving in before the share price comes down.
A merger of the companies is a strong strategic fit for both parties. Tempus-owned CIA Medianetwork, the main operating company, would gain access to Y&R’s roster of global clients, such as Ford and Colgate Palmolive, while Y&R would gain a strong presence in Europe.
Tempus recently bought a 49 per cent stake in the Media Edge in Germany and is planning a similar operation in Switzerland and in the emerging Eastern European markets.