• Tue, Sep. 6, 11:53 AM
    • August monthly performance was: 0%
    • AUM of $8.68B
    • 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: -17%
    • No dividends were paid in August
    • Top 10 Holdings as of 6/30/2016: RELX PLC (OTC:RLXXF): 2.98184%, Sky PLC (OTCQX:BSYBF): 2.94851%, British American Tobacco PLC (OTCPK:BTAFF): 2.66638%, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd ADR (TEVA): 2.50786%, WPP PLC (OTCPK:WPPGF): 2.36147%, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (2330): 2.35528%, CGI Group Inc A (GIB): 2.31975%, Roche Holding AG Dividend Right Cert. (OTCPK:RHHVF): 2.27147%, Broadcom Ltd (AVGO): 2.25054%, Deutsche Boerse AG (OTCPK:DBOEF): 2.18513%
    | Tue, Sep. 6, 11:53 AM
  • Wed, Aug. 24, 8:17 PM
    • Ongoing accounting woes at comScore (SCOR +7.7%) have resulted in some pain at WPP (WPPGY +1.8%), but the ad giant isn't abandoning the measurement firm yet.
    • WPP gained 1.8% in U.S. trading after it logged revenue gains in its Q2 earnings -- but first-half profits fell 40% as it took heavy writedowns of £122M, including an £83.3M writedown of its stake in comScore.
    • But WPP isn't selling its stake, Miriam Gottfried notes -- it bought 480,000 more shares this month to bring its ownership near 20%.
    • Before the end of after-hours trading (in a likely error), a few thousand shares of WPP apparently changed hands at $18.50 -- 84% below closing price of $117.08.
    | Wed, Aug. 24, 8:17 PM
  • Wed, Aug. 24, 4:08 AM
    • Advertising giant WPP (OTCPK:WPPGF) said that Q2 revenue rose 13% to £3.46B, driven by western continental Europe and emerging markets.
    • Comparable net sales rose 4.3% and topped analyst expectations.
    • WPP expects full-year revenue growth of "well over" 3% vs a prior outlook of "over" 3%.
    • However, H1 net profit dropped 57% to £245.8M as the world's largest marketing company by revenue booked £122M of write-downs.
    • Shares are +5.35% in London. (PR)
    | Wed, Aug. 24, 4:08 AM
  • Tue, Aug. 2, 11:39 AM
    • July monthly performance was: +3.52%
    • AUM of $8.44B
    • 52-week performance vs. the S&P 500 is: -10%
    • No dividends were paid in July
    • Top 10 Holdings as of 3/31/2016: Sky PLC (OTCQX:BSYBF): 3.18812%, RELX PLC (OTC:RLXXF): 2.81034%, CGI Group Inc Class A (GIB): 2.69658%, British American Tobacco PLC (OTCPK:BTAFF): 2.49652%, WPP PLC (OTCPK:WPPGF): 2.48537%, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd ADR (TEVA): 2.45641%, Amcor Ltd (OTC:AMCRF): 2.1994%, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (2330): 2.18264%, CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd (OTCPK:CKHUF): 2.13582%, Deutsche Boerse AG (OTCPK:DBOEF): 2.13577%
    | Tue, Aug. 2, 11:39 AM
  • Mon, Apr. 25, 11:16 AM
    | Mon, Apr. 25, 11:16 AM | 2 Comments
  • Fri, Mar. 11, 12:10 PM
    • Publicis Groupe (OTCQX:PUBGY +2.6%) is overhauling its media operations with large-scale changes as it tries to jump-start its business after some bruising account reviews.
    • The moves mean some more central media buying a la rival WPP (WPPGY +1.7%), though Publicis says individual agency brands are still important.
    • The company is eliminating its Vivaki digital ad-tech division, folding it into Publicis Media, where Tim Jones (currently CEO of ZenithOptimedia North America) will become regional CEO. Vivaki chief Stephan Beringer will head data and technology at Publicis Media.
    • Meanwhile, Mediavest will be merged with Spark (and Chris Boothe made CEO there), and Optimedia will be combined with Blue 449. The company's two biggest agencies will remain separate, as Starcom and Zenith, as the umbrella companies (ZenithOptimedia and Starcom Mediavest) are dismantled.
    • The company will have four agency CEOs in the U.S., reporting to Jones.
    • Publicis has recently lost media business from clients including Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Wal-Mart.
    | Fri, Mar. 11, 12:10 PM
  • Aug. 25, 2015, 9:38 AM
    • ADRs for ad giant WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY) have opened up strong in Nasdaq trading, +4.4%, following suit with its shares in London (+3.5%) after Sanford Bernstein reiterated its Outperform rating.
    • The analysts set a price target of 1,850 pence; shares are currently trading at 1,352 pence in London, implying near 37% upside from here.
    • Yesterday, Nomura reiterated its Buy rating on WPP.
    • Just this month, amid heavy campaign reviews by advertisers, WPP chalked a nice win with Coca-Cola as three of its agencies got the lead role in the next global campaign for Coke brand.
    • Previously: WPP scores win with leadership role for Coke brand campaign (Aug. 13 2015)
    | Aug. 25, 2015, 9:38 AM
  • Aug. 13, 2015, 7:11 PM
    • In this summer of major ad-campaign reviews, WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY) has come out the big winner with Coca-Cola, with three of its agencies taking the lead on Coke's next big global campaign.
    • Ogilvy, Sra Rushmore and Santo will steer the campaign for Coca-Cola, which is making its first big agency move since Marcos de Quinto took over as CMO.
    • The move accentuates Ogilvy's status as a favored agency for the beverage maker. While UM is the lead media agency for North America, Ogily could get some assignments in a "hybrid approach" by Coca-Cola.
    • Coca-Cola spent more than $406M on measured media in America last year, and is set to accelerate spending this year.
    | Aug. 13, 2015, 7:11 PM
  • Jun. 30, 2015, 2:26 PM
    • Heineken has chosen Publicis Groupe (OTCQX:PUBGY -0.6%) to take the lead on its global ad campaigns, moving up from a previous support role.
    • Amounts are undisclosed, but Heineken says it's allocating 12.7% of its 2014 sales of €21.2B billion euros ($23.63B) to sales and marketing -- some $3B.
    • It's a welcome win for the France-based group, as it's got key vulnerabilities in a summer with $26B in business under review, defending more than $7B in billings from other big four competitors WPP (WPPGY +0.4%), Interpublic Group (IPG +0.9%) and Omnicom (OMC +0.9%).
    | Jun. 30, 2015, 2:26 PM
  • Jun. 26, 2015, 11:54 PM
    • The global ad market has slowed down, WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY) chief Martin Sorrell says, and while European businesses have been stronger, declines in markets like Russia and Brazil aren't helping.
    • "Business is tough; it's not easy," he said at the Cannes Lions awards.
    • Weaker worldwide growth is hurting prospects, he argues. Business this year is similar to last year.
    • Despite any toughness in the BRICs, business in Germany, Spain and the U.K. is doing better. Next year bodes better, he notes, because of the confluence of Brazil's Olympics, a European soccer championship and (not least) an American presidential election.
    • WPP (owner of Ogilvy & Mather and Young & Rubicam) will have spent between £500M-£600M this year on acquisitions and stands to gain, Sorrell suggests, from a large number of accounts under review.
    • Previously: Volatile summer for ad agencies with $26B under review (Jun. 12 2015)
    | Jun. 26, 2015, 11:54 PM
  • Jun. 12, 2015, 6:41 PM
    • The coming days are shaping up to be a scramble for real-life Mad men and women, as Morgan Stanley analysts estimate that a staggering $26B in ad spending is under review by major advertisers including Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson -- basically up for grabs by other agency groups.
    • That's more than the last three years put together. Considering agency fees and commissions, that amounts to $700M of those billings that agencies are fighting over.
    • Most vulnerable is Publicis Groupe (OTCQX:PUBGY), defending some $7.2B in billings, which amounts to 1.7% of its revenue and an EPS risk of 2.3%. Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG) must defend $3.3B (1.2% of revenues, and a 1.9% EPS risk); WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY) has $8.5B in billings under review (1.1% of revenues, 1.6% EPS risk) and Omnicom Group (NYSE:OMC) is looking at $3B in billings at risk (0.5% of revenues, 0.8% EPS risk).
    • Of those, IPG may have the most to gain (new opportunity of $13.4B, amounting to 4.4% revenue upside).
    • Overall the heavy reviews likely mean new fee pressures as advertisers look to save costs. Morgan Stanley notes that reviews tend to have a deflationary effect on agencies, but some that agree to lower fees might negotiate for higher volume.
    • The analysts aren't sure what comes next -- considering digital expertise and the shakeups happening with ad technology, guessing the outcomes is a "bit of a toss-up.”
    | Jun. 12, 2015, 6:41 PM
  • Apr. 30, 2015, 7:32 PM
    • Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY), was once again the highest-paid chief of ad holding companies in 2014, pulling down about $66M -- up 44% from 2013.
    • Most of that was from a £36M ($55M) share award, the maximum allowed under an old pay plan that shareholders rebelled over. A new plan was approved in 2013 to go into effect from 2017.
    • Sorrell out-earned Omnicom's John Wren ($24M), MDC Partners' Miles Nadal ($16.8M) and Interpublic's Michael Roth ($12.9M), as well as Publicis' Maurice Levy ($5M).
    • Meanwhile, Sorrell tells Variety that he wants a "better mousetrap" when it comes to media measurement, and plans to create a "non-U.S. Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN), if you like."
    • Sorrell's plans would be for a system to measure online and offline media together: "I think there’s a strong argument to say that traditional media are underpriced, because we don’t know fully where the audiences are ... We know Nielsen doesn’t measure everything."
    • Previously: Nielsen to measure video advertising on Roku (Apr. 30 2015)
    • Previously: WPP chief Sorrell set to earn $53M in shares in 2015 (Mar. 16 2015)
    | Apr. 30, 2015, 7:32 PM
  • Apr. 28, 2015, 11:54 AM
    • Advertising group WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY) and Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE:SNI) have put $50M into millennial-focused fashion website Refinery29 as part of the site's Series D round.
    • The sum brings Refinery29's funding to $80M total; it's been doubling in growth roughly each year. The two companies will each add a member to Refinery29's board.
    • WPP is investing via its WPP Ventures. Digital revenues are expected to account for 40%-45% of WPP revenues over the next five years.
    • Digital businesses brought $37.8M in revenue for SNI in Q4, up 4.2%.
    | Apr. 28, 2015, 11:54 AM
  • Apr. 8, 2015, 6:06 PM
    • John Wren, CEO of advertising/marketing giant Omnicom (NYSE:OMC), got $24M in total compensation last year, according to the company's latest proxy statement.
    • That's a 33% bump from the prior year, though his base salary is $1M; 95% of his pay is tied to performance.
    • The second-highest paid exec at Omnicom was Philip Angelastro, elevated to the CFO post in September. He received $5M, up from the prior year's $2.4M.
    • Wren's pay still pales in comparison to WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY) CEO Martin Sorrell, who's set to receive $53M in shares this year, The Wall Street Journal notes.
    | Apr. 8, 2015, 6:06 PM
  • Mar. 16, 2015, 11:56 PM
    • To the likely dismay of many current shareholders, WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY) chief Martin Sorrell will receive shares coming to £36M ($53M) in his 2015 compensation -- the maximum allowable, and 60% more than the previous year.
    • A shareholder revolt replaced the company's compensation plan with a less generous one in 2013, but it doesn't take effect until 2017.
    • In the meantime, Sorrell is taking earnings making him one of the UK's best-paid executives -- an "astonishing sum of money," says pay activist Luke Hildyard.
    • WPP ADRs are up 11.4% YTD and up 15.7% over the past 12 months.
    | Mar. 16, 2015, 11:56 PM
  • Dec. 2, 2014, 6:02 PM
    • WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY), the world's biggest ad company in terms of revenue, has given IBM a 7-year, $1.25B contract to "transform and manage WPP's global technology platform." (PR)
    • The deal, which expands an existing alliance between the companies, covers the building of a "hybrid cloud infrastructure" that IBM asserts will allow WPP to expand its use of big data/analytics, and to more quickly deploy new products/services (details are vague).
    • IDC observed last year IBM will increasingly "collaborate and compete" with ad giants such as WPP, Omnicom, and Publicis, as it tries to profit from a shift in IT spend towards CMOs.  Big Blue has made a string of marketing-related software acquisitions, looking to better compete against Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, and others chasing the opportunity.
    • Yesterday: IBM strikes multi-billion dollar services deal with ABN Amro
    | Dec. 2, 2014, 6:02 PM | 7 Comments