WPP downplaying stories on Chinese acquisition plans

BEIJING: News stories earlier this month reporting WPP's intent to acquire five new advertising and PR firms in China sent the holding company scrambling to assure the media that nothing momentous was in the works.

BEIJING: News stories earlier this month reporting WPP's intent to acquire five new advertising and PR firms in China sent the holding company scrambling to assure the media that nothing momentous was in the works.

The story originated when the South China Morning Post reported remarks by Joseph Wang, chairman and CEO for Ogilvy & Mather in Shanghai and Southern China, about WPP's Chinese expansion strategy. The news was quickly picked up around the world.

Kevin McCormack, head of US press relations for WPP, said that the company had not made any announcement about acquisitions, but that its desire for expansion in China is well known. He referred further questions to Ogilvy.

Ogilvy China told PRWeek in a statement, "Ogilvy & Mather regularly considers potential investments in marketing communications companies... throughout China, including, but not limited to, Nanjing, Guangdong, Chengdu, and Hainan.?

Those four ?second-tier? Chinese cities were the same ones named in the original articles as the areas where the new acquisitions would occur.

The statement noted, "These comments are made with regard to activities that may be undertaken by Ogilvy & Mather, and not WPP Group."

Ogilvy refused to comment further, but its statement did not contradict the possibility that the WPP affiliate would be the one undertaking the reported acquisitions in the four cities.

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