WPP Ups Investment in Net Builder LiveWorld

NEW YORK WPP Group has strengthened its ties to social network builder LiveWorld, taking an undisclosed stake in the company.

WPP was the lead investor in a $2 million funding round closed by LiveWorld. The round, which included Abundance Partners, Allegis Capital and DragonBridge, sold 3.7 million shares in the firm.

In July, WPP and LiveWorld formed a joint venture, WPP-LiveWorld. As part of that deal, WPP received warrants to buy 2 million shares of LiveWorld. This investment is separate, the companies said.

“This additional investment reflects this momentum and our commitment to growing our joint leadership in this space,” said WPP.com CEO Mark Read in a statement.

The deal continues WPP’s recent investment activity. It invested an undisclosed sum in Visible Technologies, a firm that monitors brand reputations in the blogosphere and social networking sites like MySpace, and $3 million last month in online gaming network WildTangent. Read said at the time he expected the company to make about three more investments in emerging tech platforms and related new businesses over the rest of the year.

Los Gatos, Calif.-based LiveWorld has built social-networking applications for clients like Mini, eBay and HBO. WPP-LiveWorld is designed to bring social-networking services, which include creating and moderating message boards, blogs and social networks, to WPP clients and agencies.

LiveWorld has previously worked with WPP agencies Ogilvy, Wunderman and JWT, among others.