Sir Martin Sorrell has used the release of S4 Capital’s impressive third quarter results to again launch a stinging attack on the fortunes of his former company, WPP.
Since Sorrell unceremoniously departed the company he founded back in April 2018, he’s regularly used the success of his new venture, S4, to ridicule and rile WPP’s management and its business practices.
According to a report on the UK’s The Telegraph, Sorrell now claims senior WPP staffers are approaching him almost daily about jumping ship to S4.
Sorrell added that WPP “people feel under pressure” before adding once again: “The best thing that could happen is that it [the company] gets broken up.”
He claimed that there was a “continuous flow” of CVs crossing his desk from disgruntled WPP employees and again took a swipe at his replacement, WPP CEO Mark Read, and the board’s inability to transform the company from traditional media to a digitally-led one that could combat the tech giants who were soaking-up WPP’s ad dollars.
He reiterated his belief that WPP should be co-run with chief operating officer Andrew Scott.
Sorrell said: “I’ve always said that the two people who should be running the company were Read and Scott.”
Meanwhile, S4 announced it had increased both revenue and profit in its third quarter according to numbers released last night.
In a trading update for the three months to 30 September, S4 announced revenue was up almost 54 per cent to £56.6 million($A106 million) and gross profit up 50 per cent to £42.1 million ($A78.7 million).
Year-to-date revenue grew over 46 per cent to £144.6 million ($A271 million) and gross profit rose 46 per cent to £112.3 million ($A210 million).
Revenue grew 48 per cent in the firm’s content practice to £41.1 million ($A264 million) with gross profit up almost 40 per cent to £26.6 million ($A50 million).
In S4’s programmatic business, revenue grew 71 per cent to £15.6 million ($A29.2 million) and profit rose 71 per cent to £15.5m ($A29.1 million).
Net debt averaged £30 million ($A56.1 million) in the third quarter, up from approximately £20 million ($A37.4 million) in the first half.
Commenting on the results, Sorrell said: “We continue to trade in line with ambitious internal and external expectations, both top and bottom line. Our very strong organic growth of well over 40 per cent, so far this year, indicates that clients are responding very well to our purely digital, unitary, ‘holy trinity’ model of first party data fueling digital content and programmatic.
“As our new content and media partners, Firewood, based in Silicon Valley put it, ‘speed, quality and value’ are key. The mergers and asset purchase we have completed, so far this year, will broaden and deepen our capabilities and client relationships and convert clients to scale.
“The peanut has morphed into a pumpkin in time for Halloween 2019 and we have also achieved US$ unicorn status.”
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