WPP vote seals homecoming after tax cuts

ADVERTISING giant WPP will move its tax base back to the UK after shareholders overwhelmingly voted in favour of the relocation yesterday.

Sir Martin Sorrell’s company moved its operations to Dublin in 2008, with the chief executive hitting out at the “double taxation” of overseas profits.

However, new legislation led the boss of the world’s biggest advertising agency to push forward the move back to London earlier this year.

At a shareholder vote in Dublin yesterday, investors backed the move almost unanimously, with 99.75 per cent voting in favour of it.

The technicalities of moving the conglomerate back to Britain mean that a new company, referred to as “WPP 2012”, will be created, with shares in WPP transferred over to the new stock market listing, which will become effective on 2 January.

Merrill Lynch International is handling the move.

Sir Martin first announced the possibility of moving WPP back to the UK after George Osborne’s March 2011 Budget, which saw corporation taxes slashed and reforms that removed the threat of double taxation.

However, he did not confirm the plans until August this year, putting the delays down to slow reforms from the government.

In last week’s Autumnā€ˆStatement, Osborne announced a further cut to corporation tax – down to 21 per cent – as part of a bid to encourage more firms to settle in the UK.

WPP is not the first UK company to have reversed a move from London to Dublin. Last month, business publisher UBM also overwhelmingly approved the relocation. The company has already moved itself back to London.

Other firms to have moved to Dublin include pharmaceuticals group Shire.