WPP Group has sold its 25% stake in the Zimbabwean agency involved in president Mugabe’s re-election campaign. The marketing services group offloaded its stake in Imago Young & Rubicam for $1.
The stake was sold to the company’s majority shareholder and chief executive, Sharon Mugabe. The group had been assured that she is no relation to the president.
The move follows allegations that Imago Y&R was advising President Mugabe on his campaigns for re-election, which is understood to have included violence, intimidation and vote-fixing. WPP then distanced itself from the agency and announced that it had “no legal control” over the business.
It will now change its name to remove all references to Young & Rubicam and associated brands as part of the deal.
WPP reported its results for the six months ended June 30 last week. The company reported a 15% increase in profits to £339m for the period and said that the Beijing Olympics and the US presidential election will drive revenue for the rest of 2008.