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UPDATE 2-WPP sees stabilisation, questions Google on China
March 2, 2010 / 12:38 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 2-WPP sees stabilisation, questions Google on China

* Says November was significantly different

* Says has reached stabilisation phase

(Adds further details, Google comments)

LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - The head of WPP (WPP.L), the world’s largest advertising group by revenue, said trading improved in November and had stabilised after a turbulent year.

“November was significantly different in terms of being less worse,” CEO Martin Sorrell told Reuters on the fringes of the FT Digital Media & Broadcasting Conference.

“We’ve moved from a period of staring into the abyss to less worse and now stabilisation. Budgets are flat for next year but we’ll see some growth, according to the budgets, in Q2.”

Sorrell had previously described the second half of 2009 in terms of being “less worse” than the first half.

Shares in the firm were up 1.7 percent at 632 pence after his comments.

Sorrell was also asked at the conference about Google (GOOG.O) and the probe it is facing from European Union antitrust regulators who have received complaints from three online companies. [ID:nLDE61N155]

Sorrell said some of his clients had considered complaining to Brussels over the lack of competition and said they wished to see more alternatives in the online search market.

“From a client point of view we want to see more balance in the search market,” he said. “We want to see more alternatives.”

Sorrell went on to say he thought Google may have blundered in China, when it threatened to withdraw because of censorship and cyber attacks on rights activists. [ID:nN12211882]

“I don’t think you take the Chinese government on, certainly not in public. We apply western thinking to eastern markets at our peril.” (Reporting by Kate Holton; editing by James Davey and David Cowell)

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