Shareholders approve STW and WPP merger

STW Communications will become the primary vehicle for the Australian and New Zealand operations of the world’s largest agency holding group, WPP, after their merger was approved by shareholders.

On Monday STW shareholders voted in favour of the December-announced merger that will create a combined entity known as WPP AUNZ.

WPP will take a 61.5 per cent in WPP AUNZ, an entity that will encompass more than 90 businesses, more than 5500 people and combined revenues of more than $850 million.

The merger is expected to deliver a range of benefits to stakeholders, including at least $15 million per annum in saving, a diversified and strengthened portfolio and an improved offering to clients through local market knowledge and access to WPP’s international resources.

It will also simplify the ownership structure of companies where WPP and STW currently have joint ownership, such as Ogilvy & Mather, Ogilvy Public Relations, J. Walter Thompson, Mindshare, Maxus and Added Value.

WPP AUNZ’s board will consist of four independents directors, six WPP nominees and will be headed by the entity’s new CEO and managing director, Michael Connaghan.

“This merger will drive growth, extend our reach, significantly increase the scale of our operations and position WPP AUNZ as the clear market leader,” Mr Connaghan said.

“WPP AUNZ creates exciting opportunities for our clients, our shareholders and our people. It will be an organisation filled with insights, ideas, creativity and solutions provided by this country’s most outstanding talent.

“Teamed with the opportunity to tap into WPP’s world-class tools, global resources and deep technology, WPP AUNZ will be a business unparalleled in our region.”

The merger is expected to be completed over the coming days, and the new name of the company will officially change upon shareholder approval at the AGM in late May.

WPP AUNZ BOARD:

  • Michael Connaghan, CEO and managing Director WPP AUNZ

Four independent directors:

  • Chairperson Robert Mactier
  • Graham Cubbin
  • Kim Anderson
  • Peter Cullinane

Six WPP Nominees

  • Paul Richardson (WPP Finance Director)
  • Geoff Wild  AM (Non-Executive Director, Director WPP Australia Holding)
  • Paul Heath (Chairman, Ogilvy Asia Pacific)
  • Ranjana Singh (WPP Chairperson Indonesia/Vietnam)
  • John Steedman (Executive  Director)
  • Jon Steel (WPP Group Planning Director)

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