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WPPGY's Twin Acquisitions

Zacks Equity Research

Ireland-based advertising major, WPP Group Plc. (WPPGY) engaged in acquisitions through its wholly-owned operating company, Wunderman, yet again. Financial terms of the transactions have not been disclosed.

Wunderman acquired a majority stake in a leading Mexican digital agency, CM Interactive S.A. (Crossmedia). The latter, founded in 2004, specializes in consulting, digital marketing, creative and media buying services. This acquisition adds Crossmedia’s important client base, including Banamex, Bimbo, PayPal and Cerveceria Cuauhtemoc, to Wunderman’s portfolio.

In addition, Wunderman acquired a majority stake in Mayko Trading Pty Ltd. Mayko is a Sydney-based leading digital marketing and analytics consultancy. The agency’s client base includes big names such as Suncorp, Colonial First State Global Asset Management, Dan Murphy's, Bell Direct, Frontline Systems, Flordis, Engineers Australia and the Federal and State Governments.

Both these acquisitions will certainly strengthen the company’s position in the fast-growing and important markets and sectors worldwide. Crossmedia generated over US$5 million in revenues and had gross assets worth US$5 million for the year ended December 31, 2011.  

Acquisitions have been WPPGY’s primary tools for expansion in emerging markets. In 2011, WPPGY made as many as 24 acquisitions in new markets, 32 in new media and 8 in consumer insight.

The current Zacks Consensus EPS Estimates for WPP plc are $5.88 and $6.31 for years 2012 and 2013, respectively. The estimates represent year-over-year growth of 9.3% for 2012 and 7.3% for 2013.

WPPGY provides advertising and communications services worldwide. We currently maintain a Neutral recommendation on WPPGY. The stock also bears a Zacks #3 Rank, which implies a short-term (1-3 months) Hold rating. The company competes with other players in the industry including Interpublic Group of Companies Inc. (IPG) and Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC), both bearing a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).

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