Five large multinationals lead the communication business, with which they enter close to 60,000 million euros per year and employ 390,000 people.
Giant screens, moving panels, colorful neons. The attractive business of advertising is still concentrated in New York, around Times Square. But that does not mean that the huge conglomerates that move the threads of the industry are based in the United States. Some of the largest groups are of European origin and even Japanese. Of course, all of them are deployed around a complex network of brands that looks like a soup of acronyms that is hard to recognize.
WPP is the world market leader and its headquarters are located in London, the second international creative center. The multinational, until a year ago commanded by the well-known Martin Sorrell, employs 130,000 people and is present in 112 countries through a score of brands. These include Ogilvy, Wunderman Thompson or Gray, as far as creativity is concerned; GroupM, Mindshare or Mediacom, as media centers; Kantar, in market analysis; Burson Cohn & Wolfe and Hill & Knowlton, their communication agencies.
The company, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange, obtained revenues of 15,600 million pounds (about 17,400 million euros) in 2018, 1.3% lower than the previous year. Traditionally it has focused its growth on acquisitions, although now it undertakes a restructuring with the arrival of the team that replaces Sorrell. It is merging schools and selling others. Precisely this week has been known to have started talks with a consortium led by Alibaba to divest a percentage of its business in China and also to place Kantar foreseeably Bain.
From New York to Paris: Omnicom Group follows him in the ranking. This corporation is based in New York and listed on Wall Street. With seals such as BBDO, DDB, TBWA, OMG or DAS, last year its revenues totaled 15.29 billion dollars (more than 13.5 billion euros) and its net profits 1.326 billion, after a growth of 22%. It is in more than 100 countries, has 70,400 employees and more than 200 brands, the latest acquired at the beginning of 2019: Credera.
Paris is the city from where the Publicis Group launches its tentacles to a hundred markets. The holding, with 75,000 workers, deploys its services through 16 brands, such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo Burnett, Starcom, Zenith, Digitas or Publicis Sapient. Last year it received 9,951 million euros, with a slight increase of 1%.
At the beginning of 2019: the company sold the investment subsidiary Publicis Health Solutions to the investment firm Altamont Capital Partners, while at the same time it carried out one of the largest operations in the sector when it acquired 4,000 million dollars. Epsilon, an American company specializing in data, which adds to another purchase: Soft Computing.
IPG Group, the fourth organization of the advertising sector in discord, is also growing on the basis of millions of acquisitions. In mid-2018 it was made for 2,300 million dollars with Acxiom, another company specializing in data marketing. Interpublic is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, where it reported revenues of 9,700 million dollars in 2018 (close to 8,600 million euros), after an increase of 7% compared to the previous year. Its net profit was 618 million dollars. With some 90 brands, including McCann, Weber Shandwich, MullenLowe, Orion, MRM, Craft or IPG Mediabrands, it is in a hundred countries and has 54,000 employees.
A Japanese multinational, Dentsu Group, has sneaked into the largest advertising companies in the world, ahead of the French Havas Group, whose capital was acquired in 2017 by Vivendi for more than 4,000 million dollars. Dentsu accumulates revenues of over 9,200 million dollars, with a growth of 7% in 2018, although its profits fell by 14% to 800 million. With a staff of 60,000 employees, it is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and is in 145 countries after the acquisition of Aegis Network. So far this year it has closed at least six purchase operations, one of them in Spain: Comunica + A.
The leadership of these groups prevails in the world, although some are more powerful in the United States and others in Europe or Japan.