Alibaba, Tencent involved in talks of buying a stake in WPP's Chinese unit

WPP, the world’s biggest advertising group, is in the midst of a leadership change.


Chinese conglomerates Alibaba and Tencent are involved in talks to buy a minority stake in advertising giant WPP’s Chinese unit, Sky News reported on Saturday, citing unidentified sources.

Alibaba, Tencent involved in talks of buying a stake in WPPs Chinese unit

Representational image.

Sky News said the firms, along with China Media Capital Holdings (CMC), were in early-stage discussions about buying roughly 20 percent of WPP China in a deal that would value the business between $2 billion and $2.5 billion.

WPP, the world’s biggest advertising group, is in the midst of a leadership change.

Founder Martin Sorrell left in April following a complaint of personal misconduct. Executive Chairman Roberto Quarta said last month that the search for Sorrell’s replacement was well-advanced.

The China deal, which could take several months to conclude, would see WPP pool its Chinese agency operations into a new holding company and retain majority ownership and control, Sky News said.

The report said the deal had been brewing since before Sorrell left, and that Quarta went with co-chief operating officer Andrew Scott to China this month to continue talks.

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