First Kantar, Then . . .GroupM?

Earlier this month, former WPP CEO Martin Sorrell suggested that WPP could unlock a lot more value for the holding company by spinning off its media agencies and other assets under GroupM into a separate company.

Sorrell was forced out of WPP in early 2018 and has expressed a lot of venom and bitterness toward the holding company ever since. He made the suggestion with a straight face at a time when an increasing number of clients are calling for greater integration of advertising and marketing efforts, not less.

This is exactly the point that Read made on a call with analysts last week when he called the idea nonsensical. 

"I don't think that makes any sense at all," Read said on the call. "Every conversation we've had with clients indicates they want things closer together, not split apart."

Read also defended the decision to merge VML and Y&R and Wunderman and JWT, asserting that VMLY&R has made significant progress since its merger, due in part to the fact that the two agencies were closely aligned before they merged.



Wunderman Thompson will take a while longer to fully gel and reap its merger benefits, Read said, in part because it is a much larger agency.

In addition, Wunderman and JWT didn't have have a similar close alignment pre-merger. But both combinations help to simplify the group's structure and eliminate the "artificial distinction" between the digital and analog landscapes, Read said.

As for the macroeconomy, Read said there are no signs of the "deterioration" that pundits have been saying for awhile is three to six months away. "It's still three to six months away," he quipped. 

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