WPP marches on where others, sometimes, fear to tread. Every now and then you feel its executives might be issued with tin hats.
Now its J. Walter Thompson has bought a majority stake in WANDA Digital which is described as a leading independent digital agency in Turkey.
Last month there was a failed coup in Turkey which had significant military backing. Thousands of president Erdogan’s opponents – or alleged opponents – have been detained. Some elements in Turkey are blaming the US for fomenting the coup, which seems unlikely. But it’s hardly a climate for business as usual.
JWT bought a smaller stake in WANDA in 2015. Turkey remains a big nation and a powerful economy. But it is a reminder that there a political as well as economic risks in many parts of the world targeted by the likes of WPP and its rivals in their attempts at global marcoms domination.
WANDA was founded in 2006 and employs 80 people or so people in Istanbul Clients include Media Markt, Nestle, Turkcell, Ülker and Unilever. It offers a range of services including campaigns, social media, platform development and games and apps. Unaudited revenue for the year ended 31 December 2015 was approximately $2.7m with gross assets at the same date of approximately $1.5m.
WPP CEO, Sir Martin Sorrell says: “This further investment reflects WPP’s continuing commitment to Turkey and our confidence in the future prospects of this important economy.” So SMS is aware of the politics too. He doesn’t usually comment on smallish deals made by WPP agencies.