WPP’s radical tidy up continues with part sale of contentious retail business Triad

WPP CEO Mark Read (and, no doubt, his dealmaking COO Andrew Scott) haven’t broken up for the Christmas holidays yet, they’ve just sold the key talent and technology platforms used on the business to Walmart-owned Sam’s Club.

Last month it emerged that WPP, which bought the Florida-based digital retail business in 2016 for $300m, was suing its former owners for $120m, claiming revenues were overstated. It’s not known if the suit will now lapse or what Sam’s Club paid.

Triad CEO Sherry Smith says: “Our Triad team and the technology stack developed to run the Sam’s Club digital retail media program have been very successful. We’re committed to supporting Sam’s Club and their advertising clients with a smooth transition over several months, and we wish them continued long-term success.”

WPP, whose finances are looking rather better than they were, following the sale of 60 per cent of research business Kantar to Bain Capital, has also commenced the first £300m tranche of its £950m share buyback following the sale to Bain. It will keep the remaining £1.2bn to pay down debt. Share buybacks support the share price by reducing the number in issue.

There is clearly some value in Triad, which claims to be the global leader in selling to shoppers, at least as far as Sam’s Club and Walmart are concerned. Walmart is busily beefing up its data capabilities to combat Amazon in the US.

This is an amended version of an earlier story which wrongly stated that the whole of Triad had been sold.

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.