NEW YORK: Would S4 Capital acquire a PR firm?
Asked by PRWeek, Martin Sorrell answered with a "resounding yes."
He specified via email that he’d like to invest in "public relations rooted in new media and data, i.e. social, search, and ecommerce."
Sorrell’s new investment vehicle, S4 Capital, made its first acquisition this month, outbidding his former company, WPP, for Netherlands-based digital shop MediaMonks in a $352 million deal.
At the time, S4 Capital said in a statement that the deal "represents the first move by S4 Capital to create a new era, new media solution, embracing data, content, and technology, which meets client needs in an always-on environment." However, the acquisition marked a departure from his deals at WPP in that it did not include an earn out for MediaMonks executives, and S4 will be run on a single P&L.
WPP has threatened to pull Sorrell’s bonus over the acquisition, saying it violates a clause in his contract that precludes him from using information gleaned while running WPP. Sorrell resigned from WPP in April amid an internal investigation into his behavior. He has denied wrongdoing.
Before stepping down, Sorrell predicted a "bright future" for most PR and public affairs agencies.
"Nonetheless, for those PR and public affairs businesses that offer scale and breadth of capability alongside the flexibility, speed, and efficiency that clients expect (as ours do), the medium- to long-term future is bright." However, in the past, Sorrell also criticized PR shops that believed they could take on ad agencies as living in "la la land."