Sorrell plots third media network

WPP is set to announce plans for a third media network when it unveils its strong full-year results on Friday.

The new media offering is expected to use some of the second-string agencies of WPP's MindShare and Mediaedge:cia brands around the world for its foundations.

WPP has other media brands, such as Media Insight in Germany, which could also become part of the third international media network. This would allow WWP to accommodate conflicting business.

Initial details of the network's launch will be announced on Friday when WPP's chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, is set to reveal financial results that suggest an end to the advertising recession may be in sight.

Analysts have predicted that WPP will post pre-tax profits of £454 million on revenues of £4.04 billion. In 2002, its pre-tax profits fell by 50 per cent to £205 million.

Sorrell said: "We're out of the bath but let's hope we don't get a shower in 2005."

WPP is expected to say the recovery is driven by an upturn in the US and Asia, but will indicate that the climate in Europe is still not easy.

It is also said to be crediting the upturn to a media planning and buying resurgence.

Its expectations for 2004 are high because the Olympic Games, the Euro 2004 football championships and US Presidential elections are all expected to boost spending.

The City company Lehman Brothers has increased its 2004 advertising growth forecast to 4.9 per cent in anticipation of the WPP results and a stronger year ahead for other networks.

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