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WPP to spend almost US$400m to reboot world's biggest ad group

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WPP will spend 300 million pounds (S$524 million) over three years and cut 2,500 jobs in a drive by new boss Mark Read to return the world's biggest advertising group to organic growth.

[LONDON] WPP will spend 300 million pounds (S$524 million) over three years and cut 2,500 jobs in a drive by new boss Mark Read to return the world's biggest advertising group to organic growth.

The British owner of the JWT and Ogilvy agencies has lost 40 per cent of its value in the last year and been forced to cut its sales and profit forecasts after it lost some major clients and others cut their spending.

On Tuesday it set out its plan to respond, three months after company veteran Read replaced founder Martin Sorrell at the head of the business. It is targeting a return to organic net sales growth in line with its peers by 2021.

It said it would maintain and prioritise its dividend, invest in its New York creative agencies and achieve savings of 275 million pounds a year by 2021 by merging offices, closing others and exiting some businesses.

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It will lose around 3,500 jobs in areas of duplication, and hire a further 1,000 to boost its technology and creative credentials.

WPP added that full-year organic net sales were likely to be down by 0.5 per cent this year, an improvement on the 1 per cent drop it predicted in October, after trading stabilised.

"As well as improving our offer and creating opportunities for clients, this investment will drive sustainable, profitable growth for our shareholders," Read said.

REUTERS