- WPP Group and Young & Rubicam have after months of on off negotiations agreed a $5.7 billion takeover deal.
The deal is the largest in the advertising industry's history and will make the London-based WPP the largest ad group in the world. It leap-frogs rivals the Omnicom Group and the Interpublic Group of Companies to take the top slot.
The two boards have yet to vote on the deal finally hammered out yesterday, but it is believed to be a done deal with boards of the two companies expected to give the go ahead later today.
The deal came only a week after WPP said talks were off again and Y&R chief Tom Bell turned to French-Group Publicis. However, talks with Publicis came to nothing.
The deal brings under one roof three of the world's most prestigious agencies in Young & Rubicam, J Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather. It also brings together public relations firms like Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton and Cohn & Wolfe.
Karen Ficker, managing director for advertising and new media at the investment bank, ING Barings, said: "The big are getting bigger. If you looked around out there, Y&R was probably one of the best left for WPP."
The sale of Y&R comes only two years after the agency went public. WPP is understood to have agreed to pay $63 for each share of Y&R, based on Friday's closing price.