WPP eyes majority Portland stake

WPP is in talks to take a majority controlling stake in poster-buying specialist Portland by buying out the stake held by Dentsu-owned CDP.

The deal would give WPP a 61 per cent share in the company. WPP currently holds 33 per cent, while CDP holds 28 per cent. Portland’s chairman Dennis Sullivan holds 29 per cent and managing director Ian Russell six per cent.

It is understood WPP’s rationale is to use Portland as one of the companies offered in its emerging global media operation MindShare, the combination of JWT Media and The Network.

But the negotiations are believed to have stalled because Dentsu is preparing to float.

Sullivan, who joined Portland four months after it was launched as a joint enterprise in the Seventies between J Walter Thompson and CDP, has been the driving force behind the company’s international expansion into South America, Eastern Europe and Asia.

Three years ago Portland negotiated a deal to acquire rival specialist Poster Publicity Limited, but the deal was scuppered by WPP chairman Martin Sorrell who thought the price was too high.

Portland’s key advertisers in the UK include Gallaher, Kellogg, Scottish Courage, Camelot and Panasonic. It has total billings of 160m, with 80m billings in the UK.

Latest from Marketing Week


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