WPP sets JWT/O&M merger plan in motion

WPP is paving the way for a market-by-market merger of the media departments in its agencies J Walter Thompson and Ogilvy & Mather.

In the US, JWT and O&M will combine their airtime negotiations this spring, while a full merger of media operations in Austria is planned for next month.

Agency sources believe there may be an announcement about a UK media merger as early as Easter.

Michael Quilty, chief executive of The Network, Ogilvy’s media arm, says negotiations are at different stages in different markets, yet “people in the industry are expecting a single global merger announcement”.

Quilty admits that UK neg-otiations have been made more urgent by the formation of other joint buying points, such as CIA Group’s The Negotiation Centre (MW February 7) and Interpublic’s West-ern International, which launches on March 3.

“The talks on the UK operation are being accelerated,” he adds.

Quilty is holding negotiations over the media merger with Ron De Pear, JWT’s media executive vice-president. Sources close to the two agencies claim JWT is keener on the merger than The Network, but it is now accepted as inevitable. Quilty maintains that no final decision has been made in favour of a UK merger.

In the US, JWT and O&M have merged $1.3bn (800m) of TV buying ahead of the 1997 “up-front” annual negotiations with the main TV networks, which begin in the spring.

Latest from Marketing Week

Influencers, consultancies and the recruitment crisis: The key topics of conversation at Cannes Lions

cannes lions

Cannes Lions 2018: Marketers turned out in force to advertising’s biggest annual event. But away from the usual talk of purpose and creativity, some big issues such as the recruitment crisis, how advertising responds to the #MeToo movement and cleaning up the influencer marketing space were discussed.


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email customerservices@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here