Proposed WPP merger will create media titan

WPP will become the most valuable advertising, marketing and PR holding company in the world if its expected deal with Young and Rubicam goes through. The merger, following talks between WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell and Y&R opposite number Tom Bell, would create a company with a market value of almost pounds 10 billion.

WPP will become the most valuable advertising, marketing and PR

holding company in the world if its expected deal with Young and Rubicam

goes through. The merger, following talks between WPP chief executive

Martin Sorrell and Y&R opposite number Tom Bell, would create a company

with a market value of almost pounds 10 billion.



PR Week’s Top 150 listing shows that a merger - more likely a takeover

of Y&R by WPP - would have given the new company fees last year of

pounds 65 million. This lifts WPP to the top spot from second place

behind the pounds 59 million fee-earning Omnicom PR companies. WPP has

already stepped up one place, from third in 1998, having raked in larger

fees than Interpublic companies last year. The deal would also bring

Burson-Marsteller under the WPP banner alongside the company’s existing

PR interests, including Hill and Knowlton, Ogilvy and a strategic stake

in Chime Communications. Y&R also owns Cohn and Wolfe.



Martin Sorrell refused to comment on takeover speculation, but industry

insiders are predicting a deal may be announced within two weeks.



As PR Week went to press, WPP was publishing its first quarter results,

reporting a 50 per cent increase in PR and public affairs revenues on

the same period last year.



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