WPP Update: Kantar Break Up Chat & Q1 Sans Sorrell

The departure of Sir Martin Sorrell from WPP has kicked off the conversation of the breakup of its market research unit, Kantar, from the holding company. Kantar is the parent brand to the likes of TNS and Millward Brown among several others.

The unit also plays a significant part in keeping WPP in its position of the largest holding company globally.

According to a report in The Times, Kantar’s Chief, Eric Salama, has been sounding out backers for a potential USD 4.8 billion management buyout of the unit.

Even as WPP is not offering any official statements, saying that it is still too early to comment on the WPP’s strategy on its way forward, Mark Read, who was named one of the two joint COOs of WPP in the wake of Mr Sorrell’s exit, said in an internal memo: “There’s been speculation about breaking up the Group. We don’t believe this makes sense. In a world where clients need faster, more agile, integrated solutions, we need to get closer together, not further apart.”

WPP is also gearing up for its first quarter results of the year, which will also be the first one ever without Mr Sorrell, who had made it a point not to only to present the results but also take the opportunity to reflect on his views on industry trends, challenges and opportunities.

Mark Read, joined in by co-COO Andrew Scott, Finance Director Paul Richardson and Executive Chairman Roberto Quarta, would be presenting the first-quarter results. Mr Read is also expected to be speaking to the media.

It may be recalled WPP forecast no growth in net sales in 2018, and analysts are expecting a first-quarter figure of down 1 percent or worse.

As for WPP CEO, the hunt, involving both internal and external candidates, is still on.

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