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WPP on an Acquisition Spree

Zacks Equity Research

Ireland-based advertising agency  WPP Group Plc. (WPPGY) recently penned a contract to acquire stake in a Myanmar based advertising firm, Today Advertising Corporation. The acquisition will be given effect through the company’s wholly-owned global advertising and communications entity, Ogilvy & Mather. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The strategic acquisition supports the company’s expansionary plans and operations in fast growing emerging markets and allows the company to access the vast untapped markets in these regions. Besides, WPP Plc also targets operational expansions in a total of 108 countries through its various acquisition activities.

In the first 5 months of 2012, WPP plc’s wholly-owned operating companies carried out a series of acquisitions. Among these, Kantar’s $1.2 million investment in Enprecis, Burson-Marsteller’s acquisition of assets of Crowdverb and Carnation Internet Tanácsadó Zrt deserve special mention. These acquisitions are expected to have a positive impact on the company’s growth prospects.

Earlier, in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, WPP Plc witnessed about 7.6% augmentation in revenue from the prior-year quarter. Geographically, the company fared well posting a noticeable growth of 11.2% in Asia Pacific, Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Central & Eastern European regions. Additionally, revenues from the company’s Asia-Pacific businesses were around $4 billion.

The company established itself in the diverse markets through providing advertising and other specialty communications services globally but it should be aware of the stiff competition from its rivals. It directly competes with its peers, such as Local.com Corporation (LOCM), AirMedia Group Inc. (AMCN) and Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. (CCO). 

The current Zacks Consensus EPS Estimates for WPP plc are $5.57 and $6.23 for the fiscal years 2012 and 2013, respectively. The company currently carries a Zacks #3 Rank which denotes a short-term (1-3 months) ‘Hold’ rating. We currently maintain a Neutral recommendation on the stock.

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