WPP overtakes Omnicom as biggest marketing group

WPP Group last year registered the largest revenue for a global publicly listed marketing services company, pushing Omnicom Group out of the top spot

The UK-based holding company, led by CEO Martin Sorrell, was helped by its acquisition of top-tier market research company TNS in October 2008.

The addition led to a 13% increase in WPP’s calendar-year revenue, from $10.7 billion in 2008 to $12.1 billion in 2009.

The move was reported by Brand Republic, Direct Marketing News’ UK-based sister publication.

Omnicom suffered a 12% drop in revenue from $13.4 billion in 2008 to $11.7 billion in 2009 as, along with the rest of the industry, it was hit by reduced client spend. However, Omnicom was the most profitable company in the rankings, which were compiled by Marketing Services Financial Intelligence.

Despite Omnicom’s post-tax profit falling 21% and WPP’s holding steady, the former weighed in with a figure of $793 million to the latter’s $666 million.

Publicis Groupe claimed third place from US-based Interpublic Group in revenue terms, with just a 4% drop to $6.4 billion compared to IPG’s 13% drop to $6 billion.

Japan’s Dentsu, France’s Havas and the UK’s Aegis occupied the next three places.

Dentsu was strong on profitability, with post-tax profits of $341 million outstripping the combined profits of Havas, Interpublic and Aegis.

It placed fourth in the ranking of post-tax profits after Publicis, which earned $573 million.

Click here to view the full table of financial results.

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