Interpublic Acquires True North, Overtakes WPP as Global Leader

19 March 2001

With the agreed purchase yesterday of True North Communications, the Interpublic Group of Companies has overhauled WPP Group to become the world’s largest advertising and marketing services conglomerate, as measured by revenue. The boards of both groups gave their blessing to the deal on Sunday and a formal announcement is expected today.

With True North ensconced its stable, Interpublic’s global revenues will leap to around $7.2 billion based on reported results for last year. This eclipses WPP by some $0.6bn and Omnicom, world number three, by $1.05bn.

True North is the holding company for two global networks, FCB Worldwide and Bozell Group. It has for some time sought to merge with one or another of the world’s ad giants, a quest that went into overdrive after FCB lost its flagship DaimlerChrysler account to BBDO [WAMN: 6-Nov-00]. This resulted in 150 job losses and lopped $140 million from the group’s bottom line.

Other suitors with whom True North has flirted include Havas of France and Britain's WPP and Cordiant.

News source: Wall Street Journal