The one-minute expert
Your essential companion to this week's big events
Sunday 11 August 1996
What does that stand for?
Wire and Plastic Products.
You're making that up.
No. Really. It started out making shopping trolleys.
I thought it was in advertising.
Well, yes, it is now. Although it prefers to call it "marketing services". In fact it's the largest ad agency in the world, with pre-tax profits of pounds 113.7m last year.
This is a Great British Success Story then?
More of a back-from-the-brink story. The company came close to collapse during the recession and is only now finding its feet.
Is that why it's in the news?
Partly. This week it announces its results for the latest year. But investors will be most interested to hear what its boss, Martin Sorrell (pictured left), plans to do with it next.
Why did it nearly collapse?
Hubris. In its rush to become the biggest in the world it over-extended itself by buying already big firms like J Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather. When the recession bit it had a debt of almost half a billion pounds.
It learned its lesson though.
Er, well, actually, now there's talk about it buying the French agency BDDP for about pounds 100m. A bidding war could shape up between an MBO team and the US advertising group Grey, driving the final price even higher.
Can anything save it from repeating its folly?
Its chief executive, Mr Sorrell, seems the most likely saviour.
A wise old captain guiding his trolley into a safe haven?
Well he does have an incentive - pounds 28m worth of incentive.
Did I hear someone purr?
That's over five years, although it does seem rather a lot. But if he meets his performance targets he'll be worth every million.
Targets? Like quadrupling shareholder value each month?
No, he just has to keep the share price above 198p.
But if they go on an acquisition spree...
Precisely, 's share price might well fall.
He's dead set against this purchase then.
He said the group wanted to concentrate on developing Henley Centre, its market research arm. But he has also often said his ambition is to have 100 per cent market share.
Is he under pressure from rivals nipping at his heels?
Not here. His biggest UK competitor, Saatchi & Saatchi, ousted its founding brothers from the board last year and US president, John Fitzgerald, on Friday.
Maurice and Charles wanted pounds 28m too?
They weren't exactly in penury. Now they've set up M&C Saatchi to win back the business they lost at their former company.
Where does this leave ?
Mopping up. With the Saatchi corporate clan quarrelling and other local agencies too small to fret about, only has to worry about its Madison Avenue competitors.
There may be trouble ahead.
Indeed. Omnicom and Interpublic, which rank second and third in the global advertising charts, have both been on buying sprees over the past year.
And Mr Sorrell's for fighting the challenge?
He wants his staff to do "better work faster".
Not a very catchy slogan.
Um, no. It isn't, is it?
Statistics: July UK producer price index figures.
Interims: Smith and Nephew, Group.
Interims: De Beers, General Accident, BOC (Q3), Sedgwick Group.
Statistics: July unemployment figures, June underlying average earnings and unit wage costs.
Interims: Glynwed International, MAID, Independent Insurance.
Statistics: July retail prices.
Interims: Johnson Group, Hanson (Q3).
Statistics: July public sector borrowing requirement.
Meetings: Thorn EMI EGM to approve demerger.
- 1 The man who filmed the Freddie Gray video has been arrested at gunpoint
- 3 Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
- 4 Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
- 5 How to gain confidence and maximise your sexual potential
Boston Marathon runner's search for mystery man she kissed ends with letter from his wife
Frankie Boyle on Scottish independence: 'In the Interests of Unity, F**k Off'
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Mysterious 'X-Files' sounds heard miles above the Earth
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
In defence of liberal democracy
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
Andy McSmith's Sketch: Feisty audience is the real star of an enlightening show
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...
£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...