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WPP buys stake in motorsports marketing company

MUMBAI: Two months after forming a joint venture with IMG Worldwide, WPP is again propelling its sports-marketing capabilities.


WPP, the world‘s largest communications services group, has made a strategic investment in a motorsports marketing company, Just Marketing International (JMI).


WPP also owns a London-based sports-marketing firm Prism, and may look at other deals in the sector down the road.


JMI represents a broad portfolio of global brands with an established presence in all key international series, including Formula 1, NASCAR, IndyCar, The World Rally Championship and the major sportscar categories.


The financial details of the agreement are unknown, but Just Marketing has been valued at $100 million.
 
According to an official communiqué, the investment represents a strategic affiliation by both parties to leverage expertise and elevate client insights and solutions. JMI will have access to WPP‘s global network while providing a direct route for WPP clients to be introduced to motorsports.


Spire Capital, which took a majority stake in JMI in 2008, remains the principal shareholder and Brown the second largest shareholder. WPP takes a minority equity stake and has representation on the board of JMI, with the Credit Suisse Customised Fund Investment Group completing the shareholder group.


JMI CEO Zak Brown commented, "I am thrilled with WPP‘s investment in JMI. It represents a significant development for the company and an endorsement of our expertise from the biggest global player in the industry. The benefits to JMI, its people and most importantly our clients, will be substantial and I am excited by the potential of this alliance."


WPP Director of Corporate Development Andrew Scott added: "We are strong believers in the marketing power of international motorsports for global brands. JMI is a leading company in the sector so this investment is a natural fit for WPP and will help to offer our clients exciting new opportunities in the field of motorsports."


Last year, WPP reported revenue of $14.8 billion. The company has 146,000 employees in 2,400 offices.


WPP owns a number of the world‘s best known and most powerful advertising, public relations and market research networks, including Grey, Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton, JWT, Ogilvy Group, TNS and Young & Rubicam.


According to company officials, WPP handles $70 billion in advertising annually and does business with 340 of the companies on the Fortune 500 list.  

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