Breakfast Briefing: WPP leaders open to selling parts, not all, of business

The holding company held its first earnings call of the post-Martin Sorrell era this morning.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

There’s a lot to cover from WPP’s first earnings call of the post-Martin Sorrell era. PR and public affairs revenue was up 1.5% on a like-for-like basis in the first quarter, with "particularly strong growth in the U.K.," according to the group. The holding company’s overall revenue was down 0.8% in the period on a like-for-like basis to $4.9 billion. WPP also posted a 0.1% drop in net sales, but that number beat analysts’ expectations (CNBC).

WPP’s leadership is open to selling off underperforming parts of the business, but has ruled out breaking apart the world’s largest marketing services holding company piece by piece (Guardian). Eric Salama, the top executive at Kantar, has been reportedly feeling out prospective backers about a management buyout of the data group (Times).

Sorrell quit WPP’s top job before it became necessary for the holding company to disclose the results of its investigation into personal misconduct allegations against the former CEO, WPP chairman Roberto Quarta said on the earnings call. Quarta added that the holding company considers the findings "a matter of privacy" for Sorrell (Reuters).

More from the earnings beat: Porta Communications’ revenue was up 8% last year, but the company warned investors that profits will be down in the first half of 2018 due to internal consolidation. Plus: Unlimited Group, the owner of Nelson Bostock and Fever, has named Michael Richards as its first group MD.

By now, you’ve probably read all your stomach can handle about Saturday night’s White House Correspondents Dinner (Daily News), formed an opinion, and perhaps even engaged in a heated argument or two on social media, so we won’t bore you with another recap. Here’s a quick look at how the White House Correspondents’ Association, which runs the annual gala, responded by distancing itself from comedian Michelle Wolf.

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