WPP to merge key advertising agencies

WPP shares were on the rise on Monday after the advertising giant said that it is to merge its Wunderman and J Walter Thompson agencies.

The group, which has been rocked by the departure of founder and chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell, said that the merged entity will be called Wunderman Thompson – with a focus on creative, data and technology.

Shares in WPP were up over 3%, or 30.2p, in afternoon trade at 883p.

WPP said the new group will provide “end-to-end solutions” on a global scale, but did not comment on any potential job losses.

Wunderman and J Walter Thompson share several clients, and among the roster are Adobe, Amazon, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Salesforce and SAP.

The newly formed agency will employ more than 20,000 people in 90 markets and be led by Mel Edwards.

WPP boss Mark Read said: “Clients want greater simplicity from their partners and this development, like others at WPP, is designed to reshape our company around their needs.

“It’s great news for our clients that we can combine the best of JWT and Wunderman in a single agency, and it’s great news for WPP as it allows us to compete more effectively in the sectors with the most significant opportunities for future growth.”

The news comes weeks after shares in WPP collapsed when the firm trimmed full year guidance, reported lower than expected third quarter sales and confirmed that it wants to offload a stake in Kantar.

Mr Read said at the time that turning WPP around will require “decisive action and radical thinking”.

To this end, he announced that WPP’s is examining “strategic options” for its market-research unit Kantar.

Mr Read is in the hot seat following the departure of long-standing boss Sir Martin in controversial circumstances earlier this year.

Sir Martin left the company he founded more than 30 years ago following allegations of personal misconduct.

His departure remains mired in controversy, with WPP carrying out an inquiry into allegations that he misused company funds, but the details of the investigation were never revealed.

He has since gone on to start up a rival business