|Bid||965.80 x 0|
|Ask||966.80 x 0|
|Day's Range||964.00 - 972.40|
|52 Week Range||791.00 - 1,047.00|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.71|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||17.40|
|Earnings Date||Aug 9, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||0.60 (6.13%)|
|1y Target Est||1,078.52|
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Prince Andrew’s BBC interview about his ties to Jeffrey Epstein was excruciating to watch — especially, no doubt, for the victims of the deceased financier. It was so bad that he may unwittingly have provided the next generation of Britain’s monarchy the justification to streamline.The Duke of York’s effort to explain his friendship with the convicted pedophile came across as insensitive, ignorant, pig-headed and out of touch. He revealed a litany of shortcomings longer than his official title(1), neglecting to express a shred of sympathy for Epstein’s targets. The prince’s strong denial of claims that he’d had sex with one of the hedge fund manager’s alleged teenage trafficking victims was accompanied by strange details about his inability to sweat and his visit to a Pizza Express restaurant.His troubles will probably accelerate a process that his elder brother Charles has been pushing for years: the drive for a leaner Royal Family. By focusing on a core group of royals in the direct line of succession, this thinking goes, the monarchy would be better able to sidestep concerns about lavish use of public funds when so many ordinary British families are being squeezed beyond endurance. It might also prevent errant royals from publicly pursuing their own course at a time when an ageing Queen Elizabeth II may be less able to keep her clan in check.Andrew’s situation potentially has echoes in the business world, where an executive’s missteps can accelerate an ouster already in the works. Carlos Ghosn was pushed out of Nissan Motor Co. and Renault SA over allegations of improper use of funds, just as Japanese powerbrokers feared he was going to engineer a merger of the two firms. Martin Sorrell stepped down as chief executive of WPP Plc last year amid investigations into personal misconduct, just as concerns were mounting about his management of the firm. Both deny the allegations.Evidence of Charles’s efforts to forge a “slimmed-down monarchy,” as the Daily Mail newspaper called it, first surfaced at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012. The main participants in the festivities were the Queen herself, Prince Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince William and his spouse the Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince Harry. Just those five royals stood alongside the Queen on the balcony of Buckingham Palace to take in the climactic fly-past by the Royal Air Force. A decade previously, at the Golden Jubilee, some two-dozen filled the balcony.Unlike his sister Princess Anne, who sought no titles or royal roles for her own progeny, Prince Andrew’s two daughters were made princesses, and he’s reportedly been eager for them to have royal roles and residences. Andrew’s association with Epstein, which he said had provided opportunities “to learn,” appears to have accelerated his marginalization even without the direct intervention of his elder brother or mother. KPMG has already dropped sponsorship of the Duke of York’s entrepreneurship initiative, while students at England’s University of Huddersfield passed a motion on Monday lobbying him to resign the institution’s chancellorship. A charity of which he is patron, the Outward Bound Trust, plans to discuss “the issues raised” by the interview.Unlike a business executive, the prince can’t exactly step down, nor is it likely that his titles would be taken from him should he be caught up in the ongoing legal fallout from the Epstein case. But if he takes on fewer public roles, he’ll be eligible for less financial support from the Sovereign Grant: a pot of public money that helps fund the work the royals do on behalf of the nation. The monarchy doesn’t execute its family members these days, but Andrew has offered his critics plenty of rope.(1) His Royal Highness The Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward, Duke of York, Earl of Inverness, Baron Killyleagh, Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Canadian Forces Decoration, Aide-de-Camp to Her Majesty.To contact the author of this story: Alex Webb at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at email@example.comThis 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.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As U.S. political opposition hardens to TikTok, the globally popular video app from Beijing-based ByteDance Inc., some inside the company want to find ways to make the business appear to be less Chinese. That’s a smart move, aimed less at critics in Congress and more at two other East Coast power centers: Madison Avenue and Wall Street.TikTok delivers short, user-generated videos to international audiences. A Chinese version, called Douyin, looks and functions similarly but is focused on domestic users. The company has been reducing the amount of content from China that appears on the broader service, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The idea is to give TikTok a more independent, internationally focused business. Talk of a rebrand comes amid a U.S. foreign-investment review and criticism over the user data that TikTok gathers. Prominent U.S. senators have accused the company of censoring content on behalf of the Chinese government and called for a national security review into its 2017 purchase of social-media company Musical.ly. While founded in Shanghai, Musical.ly had an office in California. It was merged into TikTok in 2018, a move that helped it gain more than 100 million app downloads in the U.S.One of the senators, Josh Hawley, tweeted after the WSJ report that TikTok “doesn’t need a rebrand, it needs to sever ties with China.” He’s currently the youngest senator, at 39 around a quarter-century older than Tik Tok’s core demographic. Yet he isn’t the target audience for ByteDance’s efforts.For TikTok to be a true success, it needs to appeal to the likes of Nike, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s. Its advertising business is ready to take off because it has direct access to that all-powerful youth demographic. Yet big corporate names tend to be wary of risking their brands on a new content service. Allegations that TikTok is a tool for Chinese authoritarianism and censorship make it harder for ad execs to sell.Martin Sorrell, founder of the world’s largest advertising firm, WPP Plc, is among those who see big money to be made from TikTok, especially as an opportunity to reach teenagers, he told Bloomberg. Sorrell also believes ByteDance should “probably not” be subject to a review by the interagency Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., which is chaired by the Commerce Department.With a valuation of $75 billion, ByteDance is the world’s most valuable startup and counts SoftBank Group Corp. and Sequoia Capital among its shareholders, according to CB Insights. For those investors to cash out, ByteDance will need to list on an international bourse — Hong Kong and New York are leading contenders. ByteDance executives want to build up its international operations before considering an international public offering, Bloomberg wrote last month, after reports it plans an imminent Hong Kong listing. It has hired chiefs for its businesses in the U.S. and India and plans to expand in Australia and Europe. Doing so would help sell the idea that TikTok is not a Chinese content platform.That would simplify making TikTok a separate entity, which ByteDance could then list at a lower and more easily digested market valuation. It could also make it easier to keep the core business — including Douyin and news aggregator Toutiao — close to home, remaining under Beijing’s watchful eye.For such a spinoff to happen, TikTok has to be seen as a viable international company free from censorship and spying. It’s a business case as much as a political one.To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick McDowell at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
U.S. buyout fund Warburg Pincus said on Monday that it had clinched a deal to sell its European airline services firm Accelya to rival private equity fund Vista Equity Partners for an undisclosed amount. The deal, which was first reported by Reuters, allows Warburg Pincus to fully cash out after backing the Barcelona-based company for the past two years. The U.S. investment firm launched an auction process during the summer to find a new owner for the business which serves more than 200 airlines including British Airways, Lufthansa and EasyJet.
Deloitte has given a final say over the pay and bonuses of its auditors to its non-executive directors in a first for the accounting sector, as the Big Four firms seek to fend off demands they should be broken up. The firm’s independent non-executive directors, which include former chairman of Barclays bank Gerry Grimstone, will review the policies and performance metrics by which Deloitte’s auditors are paid and monitor individual remuneration. Auditors at Deloitte and its main rivals PwC, KPMG and EY are paid from total profits, which include fees made by consultants.
LONDON, Nov. 15, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Geometry, WPP's End-to-End Creative Commerce agency, has announced the appointment of Till Hohmann as Chief Creative Officer Geometry Europe, Middle East & Africa. As part of a planned succession, Howard Smiedt, former CCO Geometry EMEA becomes EMEA Creative Chairman, partnering with Hohmann to accelerate Geometry's creative commerce culture and offering.
Martin Sorrell was involved in an explosive confrontation last week in which the advertising mogul is alleged to have slapped the face of one of his old WPP protégés. Lawyers from WPP wrote to complain about the altercation, marking a new low in Sir Martin’s relationship with the global advertising group he built over three decades. Two witnesses have spoken of a heated incident last Thursday morning in the speakers’ room of the Web Summit in Lisbon, which involved Sir Martin and Jim Prior, the head of WPP’s Superunion brand agency network.
Former Man Group president Jonathan Sorrell is joining Capstone, a $6bn-in-assets hedge fund that specialises in trading swings in volatility, to lead initiatives such as a possible expansion into China. Mr Sorrell, son of former WPP chief Martin, joined Man from Goldman Sachs in 2011 and was chief financial officer of the world’s largest listed hedge fund group between 2012 and 2016, when he became president.
(Bloomberg) -- WPP Plc made an unexpected return to organic sales growth in the third quarter as it won more business in the United Kingdom and Western Europe, giving Chief Executive Officer Mark Read more cushion to meet annual targets.The London-based advertising group posted a 0.7% gain in like-for-like revenue less pass-through costs, including the Kantar unit in which it’s selling a majority stake. Analysts in a company-compiled survey had forecast a 0.6% decline. It was the first sales gain since the second quarter of 2018.Key InsightsThe surprise sales boost, even while small, and reiteration of WPP’s guidance comes as a relief to investors who watched French rival Publicis Groupe SA cut its 2019 revenue forecast for the second time in three months on Oct. 10, citing a squeeze on traditional advertising by U.S. consumer-goods companies.In contrast, WPP said it’s seen a “significant improvement” in North America, even while business is still down there, as well as in China. It saw improvement in all markets in the third quarter, as it won new business from clients including Mondelez International Inc. and EBay Inc.In an interview, Read said that while the third quarter was encouraging, the comparatives for the fourth quarter are tougher and he doesn’t want to “get in the business of micro-adjusting the guidance.” With the Kantar stake sale moving ahead and other internal mergers complete, much of his bigger changes to streamline WPP have been made, he said.“We’ll continue to see some sort of tidying up of the way we operate and organize, but the bigger moves have been made,” Read said. Read took over from company founder Martin Sorrell over a year ago, and has been trying to simplify the company and pay down debt. Market ReactionWPP shares rose as much as 6.3% on Friday and were up 5% as of 8:30 a.m. in London, bringing the year-to-date gain to 14%.Get MoreSee the numbers here(Updates with shares, CEO comment; an earlier version of the story corrected WPP’s 12-month share decline in the Market Context section)To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Seal in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rebecca Penty at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The world's largest advertising group said like-for-like net sales — a closely-watched measurement of its underlying performance — in North America fell 3.5% for the quarter to Sept. 30. Consensus net sales forecast was for a fall of 0.6%, supplied by the company.
Martin Sorrell's S4 Capital has bought Silicon Valley's biggest independent agency, Firewood, for $150 million in its latest deal to form a purely digital global advertising firm. The world's best-known advertising boss is building up the new venture following his departure from ad giant WPP, sealing deals for digital content that runs on platforms like Facebook and Google, and the automated placing of ads online. Sorrell said digital growth was "on fire" and his focus on it meant he was currently involved in five large pitches.
Rating Action: Moody's assigns B1 rating to the Senior Secured Notes Issued by Summer (BC) Holdco B S.a r.l. London, 07 October 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has today assigned a B1 rating to the USD250 million equivalent EUR senior secured notes (due 2026) being issued by Summer (BC) Holdco B S.à r.l.
(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 firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Melissa Pozsgay at email@example.comThis 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.
Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has today assigned a B2 corporate family rating (CFR) and a B2-PD probability of default rating (PDR) to Summer (BC) Lux Consolidator S.a.r.l., the top-entity of the ring-fenced group that will ultimately own Kantar's (a global market leading data, research, consulting and analytics business) US and rest of World (RoW) controlling entities, under the ultimate joint ownership of Bain Capital and WPP plc. The agency has assigned B1 ratings to the USD2.5 billion equivalent of Senior Secured Term Loan B and the USD400 million of Revolving Credit Facility (RCF) being issued by Summer (BC) Bidco B LLC and Summer (BC) Holdco B S.à r.l., subsidiaries under the Summer (BC) Lux Consolidator group. Additionally, Moody's expects to assign a Caa1 rating to the USD525 million equivalent EUR senior unsecured notes to be issued by RoW Holdco A, another group subsidiary.
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