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No Signs of Slowdown in Ad Spending: WPP CEO

Despite growing worries about a slowdown in the U.S. economy, the CEO of the world's largest advertising group by revenue, sees no signs of a slump.

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of British advertising agency WPP Group.
Eric Piermont | AFP | Getty Images
Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of British advertising agency WPP Group.

"I've seen the May numbers already now and we see no signs of a slowdown. Theoretically, we would lead any slowdown and people get worried they start to cut spending. We've not seen that." Sorrell told CNBC on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum meeting in Jakarta.

In early June, WPP stuck by its annual organic revenue growth of 6 percent for 2011. Sorrell said ad spending in the U.S. had been " a bit stronger" than the company had forecast at the end of the first-quarter.

He also said growth in Asia and Latin America would counterbalance any slowdown in the U.S.

'Frenetic' Valuations

Sorrell, however, is concerned about valuations for new media companies. The head of WPP, which gets about a third of its revenues from new media, said he was concerned about valuations for Groupon. The largest online coupon company plans to raise at least $750 million via an IPO.

"There are a lot of people trying to mimic its growth and development. Apart from its first-mover advantage, I'm not sure in the longer-run, how strong it will be in maintaining that advantage," Sorrell said.

Sorrell said internet valuations were showing a "frenetic quality" that reminds him a little of the internet boom of 2000.