May 03, 2011 - Source: IMG

WPP [NASDAQ: WPPGY], the world’s leading communications services group, and IMG Worldwide, the global sports, fashion and media company, announced today a worldwide partnership to collaborate in offering consumer products licensing and merchandising services. 

As part of the multi-year agreement, WPP and IMG will establish a joint team and share resources to offer and provide licensing services to clients from WPP’s portfolio of agencies.  

Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP, commented, "More than ever, licensing is emerging as one of the new creative ways of developing brands and sales.  It is a capability we see as increasingly important to our clients.  We wanted to offer this important discipline in a global execution and with the market leader - that is IMG.  In our view, there could be no better partner to help us achieve our goals in this area."

George Pyne, President of IMG’s Sports and Entertainment Group, added, “WPP’s agencies have an impressive roster of clients coupled with the brand knowledge and consumer insights that come from years of experience working with them. We believe that our global execution capability and specialized expertise in the licensing business coupled with their deep-rooted knowledge and relationships with certain client companies can yield some very beneficial and successful partnerships.  This is a really natural collaboration that was waiting to happen.”

Executives from the WPP-IMG partnership will be meeting with advertisers who have expressed interest in developing brand licensing programs or who have potential to do so.

The new WPP venture is an additive unit to IMG Licensing's existing operations and the latter will continue to serve existing and new clients without change.