WPP shares plummeted seven percent in London today, the first trading day following the bombshell exit of CEO Martin Sorrell following a probe (now completed) of his personal misconduct and misuse of assets allegations.
The stock price of the British ad/PR conglom has been on the slide for more than a year due to cutbacks in consumer spending and earnings downgrades.
The exit of Sorrell, who built WPP during the past 33 years and was considered the glue that held it together, has triggered speculation of a break-up/sale of the conglom.
Kantar Media, the market research and data investment arm, is viewed as the most attractive WPP asset, along with PR units such as Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Finsbury and Burson Cohn & Wolfe, according to the Financial Times.
Sorrell, who does not have a non-compete clause in his employment contract, may be planning the launch of WPP II.
In his farewell note to WPP staffers, he signed off with, “Back to the Future.”