Ever-acquisitive WPP buys digital outfits in New York and South Africa

WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell (left) is pushing towards his target of 40 per cent of revenues from digital with two more small-ish acquisitions:New York’s Group SJR will will join the Hill & Knowlton PR network and South Africa’s Native. Recently-acquired digital network VML, which is aligned with WPP’s Y&R agency network, is to buy 76 per cent of Native.

WPP, as is its wont, now has a gaggle of digital networks including newish AKQA (bought last year for $540m), VML, the older-established Ogilvy One and Wunderman, once a legendary direct marketing company but now deemed to be part of the digital landscape. It has also put the Possible Worldwide network together, a hotchpotch of once separate digital agencies that has so far failed to attract many international clients.

Not that Sorrell will be too concerned about that. Such things either work or they don’t (Possible is rather reminiscent of one-time WPP agency network Red Cell which eventually foundered) because his game plan is to have more digital business (local or global) than any other marcoms company, especially Publicis Groupe. PG followed WPP’s acquisition of AKQA last year with the similarly-priced buy of rival network LBi.

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