The reported pursuit of Young & Rubicam, New York, by WPP Group, London, may take another twist April 27, when Y&R executives will talk with analysts before the company releases its earnings. A meeting with investors is scheduled for May 12 in New York. WPP on April 26 announced strong first-quarter results, including a 19.8% increase in revenue, vs. a year ago, to $882.5 million. Revenue in North America was up almost 20%. Overall, advertising and media investment management revenue was up by more than 14%. Net new business billings rose 19% to $878 million. Y&R stock was down 3 points to $49 at midday; WPP was up 3-3/4 points to $79.50. In other Y&R-related activity, an official at Harte-Hanks on April 26 refused to comment on reports that it has had recent talks about being acquired by Y&R. "I don't think we have anything to say about that," said Jacques Kerrest, chief financial officer at the San Antonio-based direct marketing company. "We never comment about merger talks. I can tell you that we are shareholder oriented. We always have been." Harte-Hanks reported $829.8 million in revenue last year and net income of $72.9 million. Direct marketing--including substantial database and interactive work--accounts for about 70% of the company's revenue. Harte-Hanks works with several pharmaceutical clients including Abbott Laboratories, American Home Products Corp. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. The company's Shoppers and Penny Savers advertising mailer business accounted for $279.5 million in 1999 revenue.
Copyright April 2000, Crain Communications Inc.