|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's Range||39.06 - 39.70|
|52 Week Range||35.98 - 55.76|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.62|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||9.66|
|Earnings Date||Feb 4, 2020 - Feb 10, 2020|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||2.12 (5.35%)|
|1y Target Est||64.20|
FT premium subscribers can click here to receive Due Diligence every day by email. After a long affair with modern art, Steve Cohen is going downmarket. The hedge fund tycoon (pictured below) is in talks ...
At the head of WPP and Publicis, Europe’s ailing advertising empires, stand two executives placing starkly different bets on how to revive their businesses. Arthur Sadoun started at Publicis in 2017 and Mark Read at WPP a year later, taking over from commanding predecessors who had each served more than three decades at the companies. Both executives faced a similar and daunting challenge: to steer a sprawling network of creative agencies, public relations companies and media buying groups through an unforgiving digital age.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The punitive tariffs on French goods proposed by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative are a disproportionate response to France’s digital services tax. But that’s what French President Emmanuel Macron gets for his impatience to be the first to tax multinational internet platforms without waiting for international organizations to agree on a coordinated solution.The proposed tariffs of up to 100%, which are likely to be imposed sometime next year after a public discussion, cover French cheeses and other dairy products, sparkling wine, cosmetics, handbags and porcelain with a combined trade value of $2.4 billion. Even if imports drop significantly in response to the harsh measure, the U.S. government is likely to collect more from the tariffs than France’s planned revenue from the digital tax of between 400 million euros ($443 million) and 500 million euros this year. The rationale for the U.S. retaliation is that the French tax is aimed disproportionately at U.S. companies. The levy of 3% revenue is imposed on companies with a global revenue of 750 million euros, of which 25 million euros in online sales comes from France, if they provide targeted digital advertising or intermediation services. That’s seemingly geography-agnostic, but French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has repeatedly referred to it as a “GAFA tax,” short for Google, Apple Inc., Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.Compared with a failed European Commission proposal for a European Union-wide digital tax, the French version appears tailor-made to exclude French companies. For example, the EU version set total revenue thresholds, which would have subjected French advertising group Publicis Groupe SA and retailer Carrefour SA to the proposed tax. Under the French arrangement, the thresholds only concern revenue from digital intermediation and targeted ads, exempting these big French players. Besides, digital tax payments can be offset against the French corporate tax, favoring firms domiciled in France.These U.S. arguments make a certain amount of sense. France, however, doesn’t just expect to collect the tax from U.S. firms. China-based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., Axel Springer SE and Zalando SE from Germany, Rakuten Inc. in Japan and France’s own Criteo SA are all among the 27 companies hit with the tax, according to the USTR. Sure, almost two-thirds of the affected companies are American, but the presence of European and Asian multinationals on the list makes the proposed U.S. response even more disproportionate than it would have been if France had only targeted U.S. internet giants.It’s unfair, but Macron’s France was asking for it.In December 2018, France agreed with more cautious Germany on a plan for the digital tax — to wait for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to work out a multilateral solution to the problem of internet platforms’ failure to pay taxes where they earn revenue. In the meantime, the joint Franco-German declaration urged the EU to agree its own digital tax directive that would go into effect in 2021 failing an OECD-approved solution. But when the EU failed to do that because of objections from Ireland, Denmark, Sweden and Finland, France decided to move unilaterally, promising to change its digital tax law if there’s ever an OECD solution. It was in such a hurry to be first in Europe to impose a digital tax that it made the levy, approved in July, retroactive to January — yet another irritant to the U.S.The rush was unnecessary. The OECD hopes to come up with a final version of its proposal by January 2020. It’s clearly in the final stretch of development; the version published in October is undergoing public consultations. Even if the U.S. rejects it, as Le Maire suspects it might, there is likely to be enough momentum for the EU to agree on a common solution. The main difference of the OECD’s approach from the current French practice is that it would tax profit rather than revenue, creating rules for allocating taxable profit among countries where it’s earned. That’s a far less controversial approach than France has taken.U.S. President Donald Trump says it’s not up to France to tax American companies; but with the OECD solution, the U.S. will get to tax European multinationals like ad-retargeting platform Criteo, too.The USTR has pointed out numerous shortcomings of the French digital tax. Perhaps most bafflingly, services that look identical to the consumer are taxed differently. For example, Amazon has to pay the tax on a sale by a small business using its platform, but not on a sale of its own merchandise. Uber is taxed as a digital intermediary, but a taxi firm with its own app isn’t. When legislation is rushed, it often ends up defying logic. The OECD’s cautious, lengthy process is meant to arrive at a result that won’t be easy for anyone to shoot down.Since the wait for this result is almost over, it makes little sense for individual countries such as Austria, Italy, Spain, Slovakia and a number of nations outside Europe to push out their own solutions. But they’re taking less of a risk than France with the U.S.: Macron just had to be the first to stick his neck out. Le Maire said on Tuesday that the EU would retaliate for any “new U.S. sanctions” — but it’s difficult to expect such a coordinated response when France’s unilateral action is at issue.There’s little doubt that internet giants, U.S.-based and otherwise, eventually will be taxed worldwide, not just where their headquarters are located. Some politicians may feel it’s not happening fast enough, but jumping the gun only creates unnecessary tension and hurts innocent bystanders such as the French makers of fine cheeses and champagne. France will be thankful to the OECD for the opportunity to pull back from its rash action when the organization’s tax proposal is ready next year — hopefully before the U.S. tariffs bite.To contact the author of this story: Leonid Bershidsky at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Leonid Bershidsky is Bloomberg Opinion's Europe columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The J.M. Smucker Company is at it again, redefining modern creative excellence in the CPG category as it launches its new cinematic ad campaign for 1850® Coffee, featuring creative as bold as the 'contraband caffeine' itself. The centerpiece of the campaign is a cop dramedy, a two-minute short film which smartly blends creative storytelling and craft, with some pure, never cut, brand equity. 1850 Coffee is a brand with quality so high, so pure, it's questionable if coffee this good is even legal.
(Bloomberg) -- Masayoshi Son stood on stage in Tokyo this month and told skeptical SoftBank Group Corp. investors that making WeWork profitable is not only possible, but will be “simple.” Driving that confidence is WeWork’s Japanese unit, which is already in the black and will be the springboard for a new service that could help the embattled office-sharing company.While WeWork’s board was still deciding in late October between SoftBank’s $9.5 billion rescue package and an alternative from JPMorgan Chase & Co., Son spent two full days at the unit’s head office in Tokyo, poring over the books, according to people familiar with the matter. Even before the deal was approved on Oct. 22, SoftBank was working with WeWork Japan on a subscription service called Passport that it plans to introduce worldwide, the people said asking not to be identified because the details aren’t public.“Why do we think that WeWork is neither a quagmire nor a sinking business?” Son asked the audience at an earnings briefing earlier this month, before laying out his plan to cut costs and freeze growth at the co-working giant. “Japanese operations are in the black.”Altogether, Son has paid more than $10 billion for an 80% stake in WeWork, which is now worth less than half of that. The plunge in valuation from $47 billion to less than $8 billion and the implosion of its planned initial public offering in September comes at an awkward time for the Japanese billionaire, who is pitching investors on a second $100 billion investment fund. Reviving WeWork based on its model in Japan, one of only two markets where the company generates a profit, could help him counter a growing list of detractors.On Friday, WeWork’s executive chairman Marcelo Claure, outlined a five-year turnaround plan in a meeting with employees, with themes from the Japan strategy. He said the target is to become cash-flow positive by 2023 and geographic expansion would come in a measured and profitable way, according to people familiar with the matter. WeWork also introduced new leaders, including former CEO and chairman of Publicis Groupe SA Maurice Levy as interim chief marketing and communications officer, the people said.The new Passport service would give tenants flexible use of desks, community spaces and meeting rooms, amenities for which visiting customers currently have to pay extra. The service is a work in progress, but if adopted, WeWork aims to set aside a certain number of desks at all locations for Passport users, the people said. The move is aimed at increasing occupancy, the key to making locations profitable.WeWork Japan is also sharing data with SoftBank in a bid to better understand how its spaces are used. Staff at the two companies have met weekly to analyze desk utilization heatmaps and brainstorm about possible applications of machine learning in what is internally known as Project Pluto.Son, who has said his investment strategy is to focus on companies powered by artificial intelligence, is eager to move WeWork beyond its real-estate beginnings. Briefing analysts after last earnings announcement, SoftBank’s founder bristled at the suggestion that WeWork doesn’t match that profile. He said that he’s long pushed WeWork to make better use of its data, but progress has been slow. The company will now begin experimenting with AI in Japan and could be ready to introduce it more broadly in as little as six months, Son said.From the beginning, Japan was different from other WeWork markets. The New York-based company needed a local partner and co-founder Adam Neumann originally courted Mitsui Fudosan Co., one of the country’s biggest developers. After executives toured WeWork’s U.S. operations in 2016, the Japanese company said thank you, but no thank you, and started its own co-working service in Tokyo the following year.Neumann entrusted the job of breaking into the market to his brother-in-law and WeWork employee No. 5 -- Chris Hill. The way Hill tells the story is that he landed in Tokyo with a suitcase, $10 million and no real-estate connections. (He also brought his nephew Sam Robinson.) Over the next few months, with a core group of employees working out of the living room in his posh Roppongi Hills residence, they had a win -- Mori Building Co. agreed to lease two floors in its Ark Hills complex and a penthouse space at a recently opened building called Ginza Six.WeWork Japan was founded in 2017 as a 50-50 joint venture with SoftBank. The Japanese company was initially largely a silent partner and Hill’s familial connection to Neumann shielded him from interference from New York headquarters, allowing WeWork Japan to build and price spaces differently.Hill was particularly strict when it came to giving discounts. While other regions frequently gave as much as 30% off to lure clients, Japan’s reductions rarely reached 10%, according to one executive. That created tensions with New York, which had to explain to clients why using WeWork in Tokyo was going to cost them more. But the discipline paid off. The Japanese business had the highest margins and within 20 months had expanded to 21 locations across five cities.Spokespersons for SoftBank and WeWork Japan declined to comment. Hill, who stepped down shortly after Neumann himself was removed as chief executive officer in late September, didn’t respond to messages.It remains to be seen how far Japan’s success can be reproduced in other markets.WeWork entered Japan when office vacancy rates were near a decade low. The supply has tightened since to around 1%, a level not seen since the 1990s, allowing landlords to raise rents, while requiring a deposit of as much as a year’s rent.While Son has ordered a halt on new building developments, WeWork Japan still plans to open three new locations next month and another seven in 2020. Son said occupancy rates for 15 Tokyo locations average over 90%, though the number is considerably lower for neighboring Yokohama and offices in west Japan.Moreover, SoftBank itself has been a big contributor to that high level of occupancy. The Japanese conglomerate and its subsidiaries take up about 20% of WeWork’s office space in Japan, the people said. Over the years, WeWork pushed its locations worldwide to attract corporate clients because those contracts are more lucrative and stable. But Japan had a higher proportion of enterprise customers from the start, beating the 40% global average.“What has been unique about Japan is that they got to a high tenancy ratio very quickly and didn’t over-commit in terms of growth,” said Chris Lane, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. “The element that isn’t unique is that this business is scalable at high occupancy. In the rest of the world, they need to stop expanding and let the spaces fill up and then they will become profitable too.”For staff at WeWork Japan, being thrust into the center of attention is a mixed blessing. Many local employees came to the company to escape Japan’s stultifying corporate culture and are nervous about the prospects of a SoftBank takeover. But at least they don’t have to worry about losing their jobs just yet.On the evening of Oct. 18, WeWork’s employees worldwide received an email saying that layoffs were on the way, but they would be “humane.” Half an hour later, staff in Japan got an encrypted message from Kazuyuki Sasaki, Hill’s successor, telling them not to worry: Japan is doing well and no one is getting fired.To contact the reporter on this story: Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Adam Majendie, Peter ElstromFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
New Meow ReMix Campaign Provides a New Sound to the Brand that Cats Continue to Ask for by Name ORRVILLE, Ohio , Nov. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Meow Mix®, the brand cats still ask for by name, is reimagining ...
Publicis Groupe wins AXA's advertising creative partnership as well as strategy and media buying in four of its key markets Paris, November 5th, 2019 – AXA has chosen.
WPP reported a return to quarterly organic sales growth for the first time in over a year on Friday, with a new strategy from boss Mark Read helping the world's biggest advertising company to attract talent and win more work. The British company, which has been hit in recent years by major client losses in North America, said despite the improving trajectory it maintained its cautious 2019 outlook because there would be twists and turns ahead. Read, a company veteran who took over from founder Martin Sorrell last year, has merged agencies and changed incentive schemes to provide a more streamlined service after clients complained that the owner of Ogilvy, Grey and Finsbury had become too unwieldy.
Hopes for progress in trade talks between the U.S. and China as well as the U.K. and the European Union gave a lift to European stocks on Friday.
European shares were on a tear on Friday as a surprise breakthrough in Brexit negotiations drove UK-focused London-listed companies and the Irish index about 4% higher, while German shares logged their best day in nine months. JP Morgan's UK domestic plays index, which was created in 2017 and tracks about 30 UK stocks that make all or most of their revenue at home, ended 7.7% higher, its best performance on record.
Shares of Publicis Groupe plunged 11% as the French advertising group said organic sales fell 2.7% during the third quarter, worse than consensus forecasts which were around flat. The full-year organic revenue growth forecast for a 2.5% drop also was worse than consensus expectations. Rival WPP also lost ground, falling 4%.
Shares in Publicis tumbled on Friday to their lowest level in more than seven years after the world's third-biggest advertising company cut its full-year sales target again. Publicis was down 13% in early trading on Friday, also dragging down the shares of British rival WPP . Publicis was at its lowest level since July 2012.
Publicis' chief executive Arthur Sadoun appeared under pressure on Thursday following a second cut to the full-year sales target of the world's third-biggest advertising group. The change in company guidance reflected yet again the hardships that traditional ad groups face, with revenues being squeezed by competition from Facebook and Google as well as tightening budgets by major clients. Sadoun, who succeeded company veteran and current chairman Maurice Levy in 2017, has promised to offset the decline in ad spending by steering the business closer to consulting groups and offering clients technological tools on top of traditional creative marketing campaigns.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- In the glossary of business jargon there’s a term beloved by financial analysts but that journalists find especially grating: the “equity story.”It’s the sort of non-speak that can be explained far more simply: Why should you invest in a given company? That’s something that WPP Plc Chief Executive Officer Mark Read, an operations guy, has yet to answer adequately when it comes to the firm he took over a year ago from Martin Sorrell, something of a finance wonk.The task should sit at the top of priorities for John Rogers, the retail executive appointed as WPP’s new finance chief on Tuesday. That’s not to say that Read hasn’t been busy since taking the helm of the world’s largest advertising holding company. He’s clinched deals to sell assets worth 3.6 billion pounds ($4.4 billion), merged divisions to cut costs and improve efficiency, and stanched some of the revenue declines in North America. The share price has recovered to outperform archrival Publicis Groupe SA since Read announced 2021 growth targets in December.But the London-based company’s shares are still trailing its other major peers — Omnicom Group, Interpublic Group and Dentsu Inc. — when compared to expectations for earnings a year out. Investors are hungry to understand just how WPP’s new guard will translate all of that action into solid, durable growth.Read’s predecessor Sorrell had a seemingly straightforward formula to deliver just that. He promised investors annual earnings per share growth of between 5% and 10%, a pledge he tended to keep until recent years. He did so with a personal recipe of strict targets for organic revenue growth, profitability improvements, stock buybacks and acquisitions and a little sugar on top, a 50% dividend payout ratio. The approach kept shareholders happy and the stock steadily ticking upwards for years.Echoing that formula isn’t realistic in the current era. A shift toward digital marketing on platforms such as Google and Facebook and the incursion of consultancies into the advertising market means dependable revenue growth is far harder to realize. And knuckling down on costs can make it yet harder still. In an attempt to keep the focus clear, Read changed WPP’s bonus policy to place greater emphasis on sales growth than profitability improvements.Rogers, who will join from U.K. grocer J Sainsbury Plc where he had been CFO for 6 years, has a difficult act to follow at WPP. Paul Richardson had a lower public profile than Sorrell, but he led WPP’s finance operations for 23 years. The firm generated an average return of 10% a year in that period.Rogers’s more recent background running Sainsbury’s Argos general-merchandise retail division, which it acquired in 2016, should serve him well, according to media consultant Alex DeGroote. It’s given him valuable experience integrating businesses and managing a vast property portfolio. But a lack of experience in the advertising industry and in North America mean he’s unlikely to be tasked with fixing WPP’s operations in the U.S. and Canada, where revenue declines have dragged down the rest of WPP.His main role will therefore be to help Read crystallize a realistic vision for the company that can reinvigorate investors. Optimism is currently muted: analysts’ average 12-month target price is just 8% above the level at which WPP is currently trading. If Read is making the necessary operational improvements, Rogers needs to help turn that into a better story.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Alex Webb is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering Europe's technology, media and communications industries. He previously covered Apple and other technology companies for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
In order to justify the effort of selecting individual stocks, it's worth striving to beat the returns from a market...
Announcement of Periodic Review: Moody's announces completion of a periodic review of ratings of Publicis Groupe S.A. Madrid, September 10, 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has completed a periodic review of the ratings of Publicis Groupe S.A. and other ratings that are associated with the same analytical unit. The review was conducted through a portfolio review in which Moody's reassessed the appropriateness of the ratings in the context of the relevant principal methodology(ies), recent developments, and a comparison of the financial and operating profile to similarly rated peers.
Bold Colors Blend with Modern and Traditional Latin Imagery and Music In First-Ever National Ad Campaign, A Celebration of Café Bustelo Brand's Iconic, Authentic Roots ORRVILLE, Ohio , Sept. 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ ...