Poster Publicity and Portland Outdoor to merge in WPP plan

WPP is to acquire a majority shareholding in the outdoor buyer Poster Publicity and merge it with its own specialist Portland Outdoor.

The move will see the Poster Publicity and Portland Outdoor names disappear in favour of an as yet unnamed global brand.

The acquisition of Poster Publicity by one of the major communications groups has been expected for some time and the company has been in negotiation with WPP for several months.

Although not yet legally finalised, the deal will increase WPP's global reach of offices and allow it to compete more effectively with Aegis Media's Posterscope, which is the biggest poster specialist in the world.

Eric Newnham, the chairman and chief executive of Poster Publicity, said the ownership of the new company would be split evenly between WPP and the Poster Publicity shareholders, and the company would be run as a joint venture.

The seven shareholders, which include Newnham and the European managing director, Mike Segrue, would then be subject to an earn-out process, after which WPP would be able to acquire the remaining stake. Newnham would not say how long the earn-out period would be.