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WPP acquires data science firm Sandtable to ‘deepen’ tech offering

WPP acquires data science firm Sandtable to ‘deepen’ tech offering

WPP-owned GroupM has confirmed its acquisition of London-based data science specialist Sandtable on undisclosed terms in a break from broader moves to ‘streamline’ its agency proposition for brands.

Sandtable proved to be an irresistible addition to WPP’s sprawling empire thanks to its advanced behavioural analytics software and simulations which serve to deepen understanding of human behaviour and support decision making.

This makes GroupM the first media agency to invest in agent-based modelling and will see the businesses technology and team of data scientists, software engineers, behavioural scientists and strategic planners folded into its technology practice.

The acquisition of Sandtable comes at a turbulent time for WPP, which has just seen its share price collapse amid investor fears over a fourth-quarter slowdown, compounded by the unquantifiable impact of the Coronavirus scare on future advertising spend.

In a bid to rationalise the business WPP recently undertook the sale of its majority stake in Kantar, described by chief executive Mark Read as the ‘last major piece in the puzzle’ of its restructure.

WPP has been moved to respond in kind to advances by arch-rival Publicis which has been doubling down on internal data acquisitions of its own, notably with the $3.95bn purchase of Epsilon.

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