WPP's Latest Shopping Spree: Agencies, Measurement Firm

WPP this week confirmed that it has acquired stakes in a leading German ad agency and TV audience measurement firm TechEdge, while its media management subsidiary GroupM has acquired Chemistry Media in New Zealand. Terms weren’t disclosed about any of the acquisitions. 

The German shop is Hirschen Group, which employs over 500 people in nine offices and provides services including advertising, public relations, public affairs, consulting and strategy. It reported revenues of more than $42 million last year. WPP said it bought a “significant minority stake” in the group and that the transaction is subject to regulatory approval. 

The existing management team will continue to manage Hirschen Group, which will maintain its independent positioning, while being aligned with J. Walter Thompson. It’s the second transaction in as many months for JWT and an agency in Germany, which is WPP’s fourth largest market after the U.S., UK and Greater China. Last month Mirum, the JWT digital agency network established earlier this year, added another shop to its global roster via the purchase of a controlling stake in Dusseldorf, Germany-based RSK Group. 



Meanwhile the holding company said it has more than doubled its stake in the Danish measurement firm TechEdge to 49%. The firm licenses a range of software products to broadcasters and media companies, enabling users to analyze respondent level TV audience measurement data. WPP first invested in the firm in 2001 via its media agency MEC. TechEdge reported revenues of more than $13.5 million last year. 

Chemistry Media, the GroupM acquisition, has a client roster that includes Nestle, Fonterra and Bank of New Zealand. The shop has been affiliated with GroupM’s MediaCom since 2010 and currently operates under the MediaCom name. 

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