WPP First-Quarter Sales Beat Target on Ad Agency Acquisitions

WPP Plc (WPP), the biggest advertising agency, said first-quarter sales rose 7.6 percent, ahead of its own budget, after the acquisition of agencies in faster-growing markets such as Indonesia and Russia.

Revenue climbed to 2.39 billion pounds ($3.86 billion) from 2.08 billion pounds a year earlier, the Dublin-based company said in a statement today. Analysts in a Bloomberg survey had estimated sales of 2.35 billion pounds.

WPP has been offsetting slower growth in markets hit by the European debt crisis by acquiring digital advertising technology and companies in faster-growing markets such as China and Brazil. Chief Executive Officer Martin Sorrell announced more than a dozen deals in the quarter, scooping up assets in Indonesia, Pakistan and Russia.

Revenue growth excluding acquisitions and currency fluctuations was 4 percent and sales growth for the year will be more than 4 percent as the market improves in the second half of the year, the company said.

WPP shares fell 1 percent to 838 pence in London trading yesterday. The stock gained 24 percent this year before today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Amy Thomson in London at athomson6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Kenneth Wong at kwong11@bloomberg.net

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