Communications giant WPP is understood to be in advanced
negotiations with financial PR and advertising group Dewe Rogerson. The
two have been in talks since late last year, insiders say. The main
stumbling block seems to be the asking price, which some observers put
at pounds 15 million to pounds 25 million.
WPP, led by chief executive Martin Sorrell, already owns Hill and
Knowlton and Ogilvy Adams and Rinehart but has no specialist financial
Dewe Rogerson is jointly owned by group chairman Roddy Dewe, chief
executive Nico Rogerson, executive chairman Tony Carlisle and deputy
chief executive John de Uphaugh. Dewe and de Uphaugh, both approaching
retirement age, are widely believed to be eager to sell.
Carlisle refused to confirm or deny speculation that he and the other
three owners were in talks with WPP.
’I’ve known Martin (Sorrell) for 12 years. We’re always talking and in
the past it’s well known that he has been after us. I can’t take you any
further than that,’ he said.
WPP also declined to comment on ’market rumour’. However, the media
giant is well known for its aggressive acquisitions policy and recently
refused to rule out a full bid for media buyer CIA.
Dewe Rogerson’s main offices are in London, New York and Hong Kong. Dewe
Rogerson’s specialist advertising and broadcast teams also make it an
attractive target for WPP. Carlisle said: ’If you’re asking me to
establish the logic I could do so very easily.’
WPP’s interim results show that its PR revenue grew by 8.3 per cent and
accounted for six per cent of group revenue at pounds 49.9 million. Hill
and Knowlton’s revenue grew by 8.4 per cent and Ogilvy Adams and
Rinehart’s by 7.5 per cent.