Havas or Dentsu tie-up for WPP a 'figment' of the imagination, says Sorrell

WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell dismissed rumours that the group is looking to buy either Havas or Dentsu as complete "speculation" and a "figment" of the imagination, in an interview with CNBC.

Sorrell said rather than making a mega deal, the company would focus on making acquisitions in the new markets of digital and data investment management. He also said WPP would keep focusing on the lower-middle to middle-class [consumer] markets, which he said continued to be "very strong".

Talking after WPP reported increased profits in its interim results yesterday, Sorrell said the owner of JWT and MediaCom had rather upped its targets for fast-growth markets and digital in preparation for the upcoming Publicis and Omnicom merger.

He said: "That’s where we’re going to put the focus of our attention on, particularly in the post-POG [Publicis Omnicom Group] world.

"If the POG does pass the regulation hurdles in whatever form, then all it does is accelerate the implementation of our strategy, which is why we have upped our targets for fast-growth markets and for digital."

The comments come after the company published its interim results for the six months ending 20 June, which showed the group generated revenue of £5.33 billion, up 7.1 per cent year on year.

WPP said revenues were stronger in July than they were in the first six months, up five per cent on a like-for like basis.

Sorrell said that, while the July revenue had accelerated, "one swallow doesn’t make a summer, so we have to see what happens with the other next five months".

He added the areas of concern were capital investment in China, India and Brazil, where he said there had been a "slowdown in investment".

However, Sorrell said capital investment was not where the business’ heart was, and said the group’s focus was the consumer category, which had expanded with hundreds of millions of new buyers.

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