Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital Acquires Two U.S-Based Agencies
Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital said on Monday it had acquired two U.S.-based businesses for an undisclosed sum, as it moves faster to implement its revamped all-digital advertising strategy in Europe and elsewhere following Brexit.
The digital advertising and marketing services firm, which has been sealing deals for content on Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google, said it would combine U.S.-based Decoded Advertising with its MediaMonks unit and Metric Theory with its MightyHive business.
Sorrell has been building up S4 following his departure from ad giant WPP, and the two new deals are the latest to form a purely digital global advertising firm as the company stays in pursuit of red-hot digital growth.
Media agency Decoded Advertising services global clients such as T-Mobile, Visa and Intuit, while San Francisco-based Metric Theory provides services across search, social media and commerce media.
“Both combinations continue our momentum, broadening our digital, strategic, creative, data & digital media capabilities in line with our objectives for 2021,” Sorrell said in a statement.
S4 also said its performance in the first 11 months of 2020 and expectations for December were in line with the market view.
Previous takeover by S4 include Circus, an agency which counts Facebook, Google and Spotify as clients, Firewood, the largest marketing agency in Silicon Valley, and Orca Pacific.
S4’s shares have soared by almost 160% during the last year, giving it a market value of nearly £2.7bn.
Its rapid growth has been trumpeted by Sir Martin as vindication of his company’s strategy, which he launched within months of his controversial WPP exit.
While Sir Martin’s pipeline of takeover candidates looks very different to those he pursued during much of his WPP reign, the playbook of bolt-on acquisitions and targeting of faster-growing geographies is similar.
Sir Martin remains a shareholder in WPP, with a big chunk of his wealth tied up in the stock of the company he took from a manufacturer of shopping baskets in 1985 to bestriding the global advertising industry.
When he stepped down in April 2018, WPP was valued by the stock market at more than £16bn.
Under Mark Read, Sir Martin’s successor, WPP has sold a majority stake in its market research arm Kantar and merged a number of its agency brands.
The company now has a market value of just under £10bn.