WPP’s reported first-quarter revenues slipped four percent to $4.9B, though like-to-like sales inched upward 0.8 percent.
The ad/PR giant stumbled in North America, where reported revenues dove 12.3 percent to $1.8B and 2.4 percent on a like-to-line basis.
It reported strong growth in the UK and Asia-Pacific/Latin America and some slippage in Western Continental Europe.
WPP’s PR/PA group (Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Finsbury, Burson Cohn & Wolfe) posted a 6.7 percent drop in reported revenues to $275M. Like-to-like revenues were up 1.5 percent.
Roberto Quarta, executive chairman, called the results in line with expectations and said the management tandem of joint COOs, Mark Read and Andrew Scott “are providing the stability and leadership WPP requires” in the aftermath of Martin Sorrell’s exit.
In their joint statement, Read and Scott said staffers are “getting on with business as usual,” and our clients have expressed their continued support for and confidence in WPP.”
They indicated a willingness to divest parts of WPP. “Our priority is to focus on growth. We will proactively address the under-performing parts of our business and we need to ensure that our capital is deployed those areas that will grow faster and maximize shareholder value.”
The Financial Times reported April 29 that CVC Capital approached WPP about the sale of its Kantar, market research unit.
That move followed the collapse of talks to merge Kantar with Nielsen. WPP, according to the FT, estimates Kantar is worth $6B, though analysts put its value in the $4.8B range.