Martin Sorrell
Martin Sorrell

WPP chief Martin Sorrell stepped up criticism of Asatsu-DK’s planned sale to Bain Capital, dismissing the $1.3B offer as significantly undervaluing Japan’s No. 3 advertising agency.

The British ad/PR conglom, which owns a 24.7 percent stake in ADK, questions whether ADK’s board shopped the company before accepting Bain’s bid.

“Have the board ever considered or discussed any alternative bona fide offers or proposals for the company which may be of greater benefit to the stakeholders in the business including its clients and its people or has the only consideration been management’s concern about their own position in the future,” asked WPP in a statement released Oct. 12.

Sorrell faults ADK for failing to improve performance of its overseas operations and to exploit digital opportunities.

He alleges ADK “improperly attempted to terminate its co-operation and business alliance agreement with WPP, which it knows full well that it cannot do, as on previous occasions it had abided with this instruction."

ADK has said that its WPP alliance yielded neither a “concrete plan for action” nor business synergies.

It also knocked WPP for its inability to “make swift and flexible decisions.”