Sorrell gains £1.7m in shares as WPP meets performance targets

WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell has increased his stake in the company, gaining the rights to an additional 208,015 shares worth £1.7m.

Sir Martin Sorrell: WPP chief executive
Sir Martin Sorrell: WPP chief executive

The Sorrell family's total share interest – those shares it either owns or has rights to – has now increased to 17,065,616 shares, worth £139.3m at today's share price of £8.16, or 1.35% of the total issued shares.

Sorrell has acquired the shares as part of the Leadership Equity Acquisition Plan (Leap), in which senior WPP executives are invited to participate.

Executives pledge a number of shares and, depending on the performance of the company, the shares are then matched by the company.

Finance director Paul Richardson received 151,936 shares this week, worth £1.2m, but sold 415,926 shares worth £3.4m, "in order to fund taxes and other financial commitments". He still holds 535,790 shares, worth £4.4m.

Chief executive of WPP digital, Mark Read, received 63,536 shares, worth £518,771, and sold 139,782, worth £1.1m, also to "fund taxes and other financial commitments." He now holds 97,126 shares, worth £793,033.

Earlier this month, WPP revealed annual pre-tax profits had soared by 29% to £851.3m. Sorrell is increasing the emphasis on digital, which accounted for 29% of revenue in 2010. The company wants to take this to 35% to 40%, "as soon as possible".

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