Born-again WPP joins the FT-SE 100

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Advertising group WPP yesterday marked its recovery from near- bankruptcy when it was included in the FTSE 100 index of leading shares for the first time in its history. WPP joins Stagecoach, the bus and train operator, which also entered the index yesterday. Retailer Next and Wolseley, the building materials group, are the two companies which fall out of the index. WPP was built up by chief executive Martin Sorrell (below) through a series of audacious acquisitions in the late 1980s, but came close to collapse during the recession when advertising revenues dried up. A massive debt for equity swap rebuilt WPP's balance sheet, however, and the company has grown rapidly ever since - helping Mr Sorrell amass an pounds 18m fortune through his controversial share option package.Stagecoach's inclusion crowns the success of Brian Souter and Ann Gloag, who started off running bus services in Scotland before expanding rapidly through a series of acquisitions. Next, meanwhile, is the victim of its shock profit warning earlier this year.

Market report, page 23

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