Top 150: WPP streaks ahead of rival groups

WPP has strengthened its position as the top performing group, widening the lead on its rivals, according to figures from PRWeek's Top 150.

WPP: Sir Martin Sorrell's group moves further ahead of rivals
WPP: Sir Martin Sorrell's group moves further ahead of rivals

The group, which owns agencies including Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Ogilvy PR and RLM Finsbury, has retained its position as the best performing group with PR interests by market capitalisation, and a growth of 20 per cent on last year to £16.7m has seen it move further ahead of its nearest rival, Omnicom.

Meanwhile, Omnicom saw growth of only seven per cent on last year, much smaller than any other group in the top ten.

This has narrowed Omnicom’s lead on Publicis, in third place, which saw a growth of 23 per cent to £10.6m. Omnicom’s growth has taken it to £10.9m.

This year saw Omnicom and Publicis call off their proposed merger. The $35bn deal would have been the biggest in marketing history, with the merged Publicis-Omnicom Group the largest holding company in the world.

The order of the top ten has not changed from 2013, apart from Next Fifteen overtaking Creston and moving into eighth place.

Trevor Morris, visiting professor of PR at the University of Westminster and former CEO of Chime Communications Public Relations, part of WPP, said that while little had changed from last year, greater shifts going forward were likely.

"The failed merger of Omnicon and Publicis showed how easily a pursuit of critical mass can turn to critical mess," he said.

"Consequently, right now it is hard to imagine anyone else making such a bold move, but that doesn't mean there will be no change. The groups ranked from six to ten are considerably smaller than those ranked one to five. Will all the smaller fish still be there this time next year? My guess is no."

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