GfK seeks to save TNS deal with funding talks

GfK, the German research group, has sought the help of private equity company Apax Partners to help its bid for British market research company Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS). GfK is seeking to trump the £1.1bn bid tabled for TNS by WPP Group.

It is understood that Apax has held discussion with GfK in the past week but it also thought to remain in talks with Gunter Herz, the billionaire heir to the Tchibo coffee chain, Gunter Herz, whose investment vehicle Mayfair is expected to provide some backing. A large proportion of the financing is still required.

It is reported that a range of US and European sources have been contacted by GfK about funding in the past few weeks. The news of talks between GfK and Apax comes as TNS posted its defence document to shareholders. The document sets out the reasons why TNS is keen to snub WPP’s bid, underlining TNS’ position as market leader, its significant investment in the internet and strong performance last year and in 2008. TNS also says that previous acquisitions in the sector have valued target companies substantially higher.

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