WPP could be poised to make a complete break from its past following reports that the advertising giant is in advanced negotiations to purchase the headquarters of the Financial Times for over £90m, having already served notice on its current HQ at Farm Street, Mayfair.
Any relocation would cement a physical break from the Sir Martin Sorrell era as new chief executive Mark Read seeks to stamp his own authority over the sprawling ad empire, six months after their former figurehead’s abrupt departure.
WPP hasn’t confirmed which elements of its business will be moved to One Southwark Bridge, London, but speculation suggests that the address could become the group’s new UK headquarters – with plenty of desk space to accommodate one or more of its agency groups as well.
Around 30 of WPP’s core staff of 200 are based in the converted mews house but management is keen to consolidate operations within Sea Containers House on the South Bank and a separate office close to the Financial Times premises.
Even if a deal is signed soon it will be several years before WPP can decant its staff to Southwark with the FT itself in process of migrating employees to Bracken House, close to St Paul’s Cathedral.
The FT Group move was precipitated by its £844m sale to Japan's Nikkei.