As expected [WAMN: 18-Jun-03], WPP Group plans to align Cordiant Communications’ flagship agency Bates Worldwide with its own networks.

Fresh from agreeing a deal to take over ailing Cordiant [WAMN: 19-Jun-03], WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell confirmed rumours that J Walter Thompson, Red Cell and Young & Rubicam are likely to pick up most of Bates’ operations around the world.

“In the US it might make sense for Bates to move closer with Thompson, and maybe in the UK,” he told analysts. “There is some sense in Red Cell working closely with Bates Europe. In Asia, Bates and Dentsu Young & Rubicam work closely together, though there are alternatives to that. Red Cell is in Asia as well.”

However, the WPP supremo added that the Bates name would be retained in some places: “We’ll keep it alive where it makes sense.”

As for Cordiant’s branding and design agency Fitch Worldwide, direct network 141 Worldwide and healthcare group Healthworld, Sorrell intends to keep these as separate brands within WPP.

Referring to 141’s future alongside its new parent’s existing direct shops, he continued: “Wunderman, Ogilvy One and 141 Worldwide have a different emphasis, but we’ll have three of the strongest worldwide organisations.”

Sorrell did not, however, go into detail regarding job losses. “We are looking at it carefully, particularly those at the head office,” he warned, though he insisted WPP would “retain the right people.” Some Cordiant insiders fear anyone not specifically attached to a client may be shown the door.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff