WPP PR, public affairs revenue up 1.7% in January-through-May period

WPP's PR and public affairs revenue was up 1.7% in the first five months of the year compared with 2013 on a like-for-like basis. North American revenue was up 4.6%, like-for-like, while the UK grew 7%.

WPP CEO Martin Sorrell
WPP CEO Martin Sorrell

LONDON: WPP’s PR and public affairs revenue was up 1.7% in the first five months of the year compared with 2013 on a like-for-like basis, according to a trading update released by the holding company on Wednesday.

The umbrella group, which owns and operates PR agencies Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Burson-Marsteller, Ogilvy Public Relations, and Cohn & Wolfe, among others, did not release specific revenue numbers for its PR and public affairs segment.

In North America, WPP reported overall like-for-like growth of 4.6% from January through May. The region "continues to show consistent growth, with particularly strong growth in media investment management and with the custom parts of the group’s data-investment management and branding and identity and healthcare businesses performing less well."

Overall, WPP reported revenue of about $7.4 billion in the five-month period, up 7.6% compared with the year prior.

UK revenue was up 7% on a like-for-like basis, while Western Continental Europe registered 0.6% like-for-like growth during the period. Revenue in Asia-Pacific, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and Central and Eastern Europe was up 4.5% on a like-for-like basis.

Broken down by business sector, advertising and media investment management saw like-for-like growth of 5.4% in the period, while data investment management was up 1.6% on a like-for-like basis during the first five months of the year. Branding and identity, healthcare, and specialist communications achieved 4% like-for-like revenue growth in the January-through-May period.

In the first quarter of this year, WPP’s global PR and public affairs revenue rose 1.9% year-over-year on a like-for-like comparison with Q1 2013.

On Wednesday, WPP shareholders protested CEO Martin Sorrell’s pay package, with 16% of investors voting against the board’s remuneration policy. In 2012, 60% of investors opposed WPP's 2011 remuneration report and Sorrell's pay package in a nonbinding vote that put increasing pressure on the holding company to reform its compensation practices for executives.

Like-for-like revenue growth excludes the impact of acquisitions and currency fluctuations.

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