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Sorrell’s S4 Capital has doubled its headcount in under a year


Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital now staffs nearly 1,300 people in 18 countries, double the relative headcount from this time last year.

At the advertising firm’s annual general meeting today (29 May) the former WPP boss revealed that the venture had reportable revenues up 45% and like-for-like revenues up over 41% in the first four months of 2019.

Meanwhile, reportable gross profit was up over 41% and like-for-like gross profit almost 37%.

In its first annual results released in March, which covered the year to December 2018, the company reported pre-tax profits of £7.6m while revenues increased 58% to £135.9m.

Much of the growth has come from the acquisitions of MediaMonks and MightyHive. Since their completion, it has opened offices in France and Italy and it’s now eyeing South Korea, Germany and Spain as other potential additional hubs.

“Within nine months, your company now has approximately 1,300 people in 18 countries and a market capitalisation of around £600m ($750m),” he told shareholders at the meeting.

"The total number of people has already risen to just under 1300 in April, almost double the pro-forma number for last year of just under 700."

“The focus remains on broadening and deepening existing client relationships and our geographical offer. Our two biggest clients may double in size this year, but we still search for bigger and deeper relationships or ‘whoppers’.”

He said in recent months S4 has won business for Procter & Gamble’s Braun, Google, Nestlé’s Starbucks at Home, Netflix, Mondelez, Uber, Bayer, Sprint, Avon, ServiceNow, Shiseido, and Olympic Broadcasting Services. That work has laregly been for content and programmatic media services.

Earlier this month the Financial Times reported that Sorrell would face a ‘shareholder revolt’ over S4's pay policy at the AGM, with two advisory groups, Glass Lewis and Institutional Shareholder Services, said to have advised investors to reject the company’s “complex” setup.

It won’t be the first time that Sorrell has faced a backlash from investors over pay. At WPP a third of its shareholders rejected the mogul’s £70m paycheck in 2016.

According to its first annual report, Sorrell was paid £140,000 in 2018.

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