WPP plc (LSE: WPP, NASDAQ: WPPGY) is a global communications services company with its main management office in London, United Kingdom and its executive office in Dublin, Republic of Ireland. It is the world's largest advertising company measured by revenues, and has over 2,400 offices in 107 countries. It owns a number of advertising, public relations and market research networks, including Grey, Hill & Knowlton, JWT, Ogilvy Group, TNS and Young & Rubicam.
Its primary listing is on the London Stock Exchange and it is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. It has a secondary listing on NASDAQ.
Wire and Plastic Products plc was founded in 1971 as a manufacturer of wire shopping baskets. In 1985 Martin Sorrell, searching for a listed company through which to build a worldwide marketing services company, bought a controlling stake of just under 30% at a cost of $676,000. Sorrell had been the financial director for the advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi from 1977 to 1985, managing its takeovers of companies in the US and the UK. The holding company was renamed WPP Group and in 1987 Sorrell became its chief executive.
In 1987 the Company acquired J. Walter Thompson (including JWT, Hill & Knowlton and MRB Group) for $566m. The Company was first listed on the NASDAQ in 1988. In 1989 it acquired Ogilvy Group for $864m and in 1998 formed an alliance with Asatsu-DK Inc. of Japan. In October 2008, the Company acquired market research firm TNS for £1.6 billion.