WPP PR, PA revenue up 1.9% in first quarter

DUBLIN, IRELAND: WPP Group's PR and public affairs revenue grew 1.9% on a like-for-like basis in the first quarter to approximately $297.6 million.

DUBLIN, IRELAND: WPP Group's PR and public affairs revenue grew 1.9% on a like-for-like basis in the first quarter of 2012, excluding the impact of currency fluctuations or acquisitions compared with the previous year, to approximately $297.6 million.

The holding company said in an earnings report Friday morning that Burson-Marsteller and Cohn & Wolfe showed the strongest growth of its PR and PA agencies in Q1.

Overall, WPP's Q1 revenue was up 4% on a like-for-like basis compared with the previous year to about $3.2 billion, beating analysts' expectations. In North America, revenue grew 1.4% on a like-for-like basis compared with Q1 2011, to $1.1 billion. Gross margin was up 4% in the quarter at the world's largest marketing services holding company.

WPP owns and operates Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, Cohn & Wolfe, Quinn Gillespie, and Dewey Square Group, among other firms.

On Thursday, Interpublic Group reported its PR revenue was up 5.4% overall in Q1, compared with the prior year, while Publicis' PR firms saw 6% organic growth, year over year, in the first quarter.

Omnicom Group's PR revenue was up 4% organically in the first quarter compared with Q1 2011, while Next Fifteen Communications Group reported 4% year-over-year organic revenue growth for the six months ending January 31. Havas saw 3.6% Q1 organic revenue growth in North America, year over year.

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