Former WPP chief Sorrell planning marketing comeback
UK businessman plans to turn Derriston Capital into next-gen marketing firm
Martin Sorrell has taken control of a listed shell company to use it as a vehicle to buy marketing firms, replicating the approach he took in the 1980s to build the world’s biggest advertising group. Photograph: Reuters
Martin Sorrell, the recently ousted boss of WPP, has taken control of a listed shell company to use it as a vehicle to buy marketing firms, replicating the approach he took in the 1980s to build the world’s biggest advertising group.
In a statement Mr Sorrell said he would invest £40 million (€46 million) of his own money into Derriston Capital, a little-known two-year-old listed shell company, while investors had pledged €150 million to do deals. The company will be renamed S4 Capital, an entity controlled by Mr Sorrell who will become executive chairman.
“S4 Capital is a company that aims to build a multi-national communication services business focused on growth,” he said. “There are significant opportunities for development in technology, data and content. I look forward to making this happen.”
One of the most high profile businessmen in Britain, Mr Sorrell is repeating the tactic he used in the 1980s when he took a listed company, Wire and Plastics Products, and used it to buy some of the world’s most famous advertising agencies.
The news comes just over six weeks after he quit WPP, a company that employed 200,000 staff in 112 countries after he built it up through years of deal making. The board had opened an investigation into an allegation of personal misconduct, leading Mr Sorrell to step down.
The company has not given any details about the allegation, and Mr Sorrell has denied any wrongdoing.