WPPgets second rent writ

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THE advertising group, WPP, has been served with a second High Court writ for refusing to pay rent to Canary Wharf, the owners of the London Docklands office complex.

Last month, WPP was forced to pay pounds 2.3m in a last minute, out-of-court settlement after Canary Wharf started proceedings to reclaim unpaid rent owed by Ogilvy & Mather, one of WPP's main advertising agencies. Ogilvy & Mather is based in Cabot House, next to the tower.

The group is withholding rent as a protest against alleged changes to a lease agreement after Canary Wharf, developed by the Canadian Reichmann brothers, went into receivership two years ago. The company has since come out of administration and is owned by a consortium of banks.

WPP is refusing to sign a new 25-year lease because it claims the current landlords are not of the same financial standing as the original developers, and that it therefore doubts their ability to maintain services to tenants.

'We want to ensure that Canary Wharf will adhere to the long-term lease obligations,' a spokesman said.

It is thought that WPP will pay the additional pounds 722,000, before the matter is taken to a hearing in open court.