“The eye of the storm is passing, so we feel that now is the time to think aggressively,” said Sorrell by phone, acknowledging the risks of new waves of the coronavirus. S4 said in a statement that the money would be used to “provide flexibility and firepower to accelerate merger strategy.”
The offer has been oversubscribed and will mean six “major” new investors on S4’s shareholder register if pricing and allocations can be agreed, Sorrell said by phone. He is subscribing to new shares worth at least 8 million pounds, with the company’s other directors also taking part in the fundraising.
HSBC Holdings Plc and Dowgate Capital Ltd. are acting as joint global coordinators on the share issue, according to a statement, and will also serve as joint bookrunners alongside Jefferies International Ltd.
Sorrell launched S4 in 2018 shortly after his abrupt resignation as chief executive officer of WPP, which he had built over the course of more than three decades into the world’s largest provider of advertising and marketing services. S4 has hired 200 people during the pandemic, he said.
A serial dealmaker, Sorrell quickly set about growing S4 through acquisitions and in the same year beat his former employer in an auction for the Dutch digital agency MediaMonks Multimedia Holding BV. More deals have followed, including the October 2019 merger of its MightyHive division with analytics firms ConversionWorks and Datalicious Korea.