Sir Martin Sorrell has reportedly beaten WPP in the race to acquire Dutch-based digital production company MediaMonks.
The UK’s Financial Times is reporting that Sorrell snared the deal with a bid of €300 million ($A472 million). According to the report, both WPP and Accenture Interactive both made offers for the company.
MediaMonks counts Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Lego among its clients and generated €20 million ($A32 million) in earnings last financial year.
Sorrell, of course, was spectacularly forced out of WPP, the business he founded, in April amid claims of impropriety.
Far from going gracefully, the 73-year-old has since been courting interest and investors in his bid to build a “next generation” advertising group that many believed (although Sorrell, himself, denied) would compete directly against WPP.
On Friday, WPP threatened Sorrell with legal action believing his acquisition of MediaMonks was “likely to be in breach of his confidentiality obligations” he signed when he left WPP. For its part, WPP has since said it will withhold £20 million ($A36 million) in future payouts Sorrell is owed by WPP if he progressed with the MediaMonks takeover.
When Sorrell left WPP under a cloud of personal misconduct it was deemed he’d retired and would be paid the $36 million over the next decade based on payouts relating to share awards. WPP also (rightly) believed Sorrell had enormous personal insight into the workings of the business and that would be detrimental if he became a competitor.
Sorrell has denied the new venture would compete with WPP and recently told the audience at Cannes last month that his new company was a mere “peanut”. However, he added: “It does occur to me that some people have peanut allergies.”