Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 has joined the holding companies in blaming falling tech spends for its underwhelming numbers in the first six months to June.
Overnight, the London-headquarted company reported a loss before tax of £23.2 million ($A44.6 million) from January to June that subsequently saw the share price plummet by 25 per cent.
The company is now valued at £400 million ($A768 million), noting it had previously touched £4 billion ($A7.7 billion) back in July 2021.
Sorrell, 78, also blamed S4’s performance on Asia, saying it was still struggling post-lockdown. The Asian agencies’ revenues fell 6.9 per cent while the company shed 500 jobs over the past 12 months from its 8500 global workforce.
Speaking to the the UK’s Financial Times, Sorrell predicted that the trying conditions would continue into next year. “Clients are very cautious,” he said. “CEOs are very bullish but it’s different within the company.”
Sorrell later told the BBC’s Today program that the result was “mixed” and “reflected challenging global macroeconomic conditions and consequent fears of recession”.
The media guru added that EBITDA was up 20 per cent in “reported terms” to £36.5 million ($A70 million).
He added: “But on a like-for-like basis it was down, and down significantly. That reflected the pressure that we’ve seen on tech clients and, to some extent, smaller, regional clients across the world.”
Asked about clients’ upcoming Christmas spends, Sorrel said: “CEOs of clients are on balance on the positive side. But in terms of operations, I think clients have been quite cautious in the first six months of the year as they’re worried about the possibility of recession.
“We had three major geopolitical issues around the US and China, around Ukraine and Russia, and around Iran, and that’s apart from the issues around climate change, North Korea and other things we have to deal with.”
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