15 May 2000

WPP Group, now the world's biggest advertising group following its takeover of Young & Rubicam [WAMN 12-May-00], risks losing its grip on its biggest client, Ford.

WPP shareholders will own two-thirds of the combined group and the car giant, concerned at the concentration of its global ad business in WPP’s hands, is said to be mulling the appointment of a fourth network to keep WPP in check. Not only does Y&R hold a substantial slice of Ford business worldwide but existing WPP networks J Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather also handle Ford business in various world regions.

Meantime WPP chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell hailed the deal: "This transaction creates a worldwide leader. The two organisations are highly compatible. We share a common philosophy and culture."

News Sources: Sunday Express (UK) and BBC Online Business News (UK)