WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell (who, according to a Sunday Times list at the weekend has £2bn to spend) has made a small dent in his cash pile by buying a majority stake in Pakistan’s Oasis Insights, a research and consultancy business based in Karachi.
Pakistan is one of the ‘Next 11’ world economies Sorrell has said he is targeting (the label was originally devised by Goldman Sachs), a group which also includes the likes of Vietnam and Turkey. It is hardly the most stable of economic environments, bordering Afghanistan and, some would say, being controlled by an out-of-control military but with a rapidly expanding population, currently about 180m, will at some stage figure in the expansion plans of all the world’s big marcoms companies.
Sorrell prides himself on getting there first. WPP says its ‘Next 11’ businesses turn over $700m and employ more than 9,000 people. Oasis Insights has revenue of PKR 254m (about £1.8m) and works for clients including Engro Foods, Mobilink, PTC, Ufone and Unilever.