S4 Capital Reports First-Ever Earnings

Martin Sorrell’s self-proclaimed “peanut” of a holding company has officially graduated to a coconut.

S4 Capital reported its first-ever earnings as a public company Wednesday, following its reverse takeover of Derriston Capital in April. Q3 revenue grew 45% to $33 million and rose 48% to $94 million for the first nine months of the year.

“We’re very pleased with the fast start out of the blocks,” Sorrell told AdExchanger in an email. “However, we want to maintain the momentum and are very focused on expanding our purely digital services into digital media planning and buying, first-party data and further amplifying our content offer.”

MediaMonks’ Q3 operating gross profit margin topped 20%, the same as Q3 2017. But it was 25% through the first nine months of 2018, compared to 15% during the same period last year.  S4 did not break out MediaMonks’ 2018 revenue, but said in its September prospectus that the agency brought in $77 million in 2017.

“We are delighted that MediaMonks was able to deliver continued significant growth,” Sorrell said in a statement, adding that S4 is already seeing a “widening and deepening” of its client base thanks to MediaMonks.

The Netherlands-based digital production agency’s focus on digital content, digital media planning and buying and first-party data done faster, better and cheaper “clearly resonates with clients of all shapes and sizes,” Sorrell said. Founded 17 years ago, it has worked with clients including Ikea, Nestle and Google.

S4 is also expanding into digital and programmatic buying. Last week, Financial Times reported the holding company hoped to buy programmatic specialist agency MightyHive, which has deep Google expertise. S4 is reportedly in a bidding war for the agency with Chinese data and technology company BlueFocus, with an estimated deal price of up to $200 million, according to Adweek.

Unlike WPP, Sorrell’s acquisitions are focused on digital media, digital content and first-party data.

WPP’s market cap has dropped more than $2.5 billion this year after reporting a string of disappointing earnings, causing it to lose its spot as the world’s largest advertising and marketing firm.

While there’s still lots of room to grow, Sorrell was pleased with S4’s performance this quarter.

“In all, a good start for a coconut!” he said in a statement.

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