A Shiny Toy? Data Has Become the Big Opportunity

October 2, 2017


On Aug. 23, WPP, the British multinational advertising and PR company, announced 2017 interim results that were concerning, to put it mildly. Its revenue grew by 13.3 percent, but like-for-like sales fell by 0.3 percent. And while its net sales rose by 13.7 percent in sterling, like-for-like sales slid by 0.5 percent.

An adjusted measurement of a company’s revenue growth, like-for-like compares current and prior sales periods and only considers activities in effect during both periods, excluding the results of expansions, acquisitions or other events that artificially enlarge a company’s sales. In my vocabulary, like-for-like is the true measure of an agency’s business health.

Two of WPP’s other major holding companies also lost similar value that day. The impact on the company’s stock was immediate: Its price per share dropped from $102.37 to $90.61, according to Yahoo Finance.

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