By Nick Kostov
WPP PLC said it would pay its former Chief Executive Martin Sorrell shares worth more than 2 million pounds, or $2.65 million, as part of his long-term bonus, despite having threatened to withhold the payment, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The decline of WPP's shares over the past two years left Mr. Sorrell with about a third of the maximum payment granted under the company's long-term bonus program. An independent legal review commissioned by the company's board found there was no basis for withholding the payment, the person said.
That amounts to an about-face for WPP which has frequently sparred with Mr. Sorrell since he left the firm last year.
WPP's lawyers wrote to Mr. Sorrell's lawyers in July to warn him that he was "likely to be in breach of his confidentiality undertakings" over his pursuit of digital production company MediaMonks, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. The letter stated that Mr. Sorrell could lose share awards worth millions of pounds that were part of his long-term incentive program with WPP.
Write to Nick Kostov at Nick.Kostov@wsj.com