WPP posts revenue lift; Sorrell talks tackling Facebook

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 1 November 2016
Source: Cannes Lions 2015

WPP has revealed its quarter three results, with the global advertising giant posting an overall revenue lift of 3.2%.

The business reported revenue of £3.611 billion or USD$4.741 billion, with chief executive of the business Sir Martin Sorrell saying UK revenues have already been affected by Brexit.

According to AdAge, Sorrell told investors: “Every client we talk to with heavy UK exposure, almost without exception, has Brexit and uncertainty as its first item."

When it comes to how the year to date is shaping up. WPP reported a revenue increase for the past nine months of 15.8% at £10.147 billion, up 5.0% at USD$14.108 billion, up 4.7% at €12.632 billion and down 6.0% at ¥1.528 trillion.

Sorrell also discussed the issue of transparency, saying it isn't an issue that is prevalent in the US, rather it's more of an issue in other markets.

“I don't want to say 'I told you so,' but I do want to say 'I told you so.' We said that there are no rebate issues in the US If you want to deal with problems, work with us to do something about Japan and the Middle East where there is even less transparency.

"We are looking in the wrong places. All the audit activity in the US – however significant its size – is misplaced. It doesn't mean there shouldn't be standards – sure there should be – but it's no good pushing on the open door; you have to push on the closed doors."

Looking to what's coming down the line, Sorrell predicted that the mergers of key media businesses could see companies being able to fight back against the duopoly that is Facebook and Google.

The Financial Times is reporting that Sorrell told investors it would be “logical” for 21st Century Fox to make a move for Sky and suggested other possible tie-ups could include Comcast and Verizon and CBS and Viacom.

“We need more balance in the marketplace to counter the growing force of Facebook and Google,” he says.

“CBS and Viacom seem to be a natural fit — we spend $1bn with CBS and $700m with Viacom so a combined entity would be the same as Facebook and Google. According to the top 10 trends we see, convergence and consolidation is going to become more important.”

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