Martin Sorrell’s spat with WPP

Advertising giant WPP has cancelled a long-term share award to Martin Sorrell, its founder and former CEO, accusing him of leaking confidential client information

Digital-advertising firm S4 Capital has raised its annual profit targets after a strong first quarter, reports Alex Barker in the Financial Times. S4, founded by Martin Sorrell (pictured) after his acrimonious split with advertiser WPP in 2018, saw like-for-like revenue bounce by 35% in the first three months of the year thanks to account wins at BMW and confectionery giant Mondelez. The group is in a sweet spot as digital advertising gathers pace. S4 has grown to a £3.1bn valuation and plans to issue bonds to finance a £500m takeover war chest. 

Sorrell and WPP still have scores to settle. Last week WPP cancelled a long-term share award to its former employee, accusing him of leaking confidential client information to the media while he was still in charge. Sorrell has fired back with a level of derision worthy of a Trump tweet, dubbing the move “outrageous” and saying it was “driven by personal animus”, “envy” and “blind rage”. He has also mocked “WPP’s recent poor share price performance…WPP blew $1 billion by selling their 20 per cent stake in Globant at 52p, it now trades at over 220p…It’s a bit rich that they’re accusing me of leaks, given their own over the last three years.”

Sorrell won’t be feeling too out of pocket, says Dasha Afanasieva on Breakingviews. The shares WPP will withhold are worth at least £200,000. Yet the value of Sorrell’s 10% holding in S4 Capital has soared by 14% this year, leaving him £38m richer. WPP’s decision to go after its former CEO is a “false economy”. Valued at £12bn, WPP is only “inviting comparisons” with Sorrell’s £3bn “upstart”.

Recommended

How the UK can help solve the semiconductor shortage
UK Economy

How the UK can help solve the semiconductor shortage

The EU’s plan to build a semiconductor manufacturing industry will fail, but the UK should take advantage of that, says Matthew Lynn
26 Sep 2021
The charts that matter: China upsets cryptocurrency markets
Global Economy

The charts that matter: China upsets cryptocurrency markets

Bitcoin slid again this week after China declared all cryptocurrency transactions illegal. Here’s what’s happened to the charts that matter most to th…
25 Sep 2021
How to cut your energy bill this winter
Personal finance

How to cut your energy bill this winter

Gas and electricity prices have risen by more than 250% so far this year. And they’re likely to go higher still Saloni Sardana looks at what can you …
24 Sep 2021
Cryptocurrency roundup: China’s crackdown intensifies
Bitcoin & crypto

Cryptocurrency roundup: China’s crackdown intensifies

Most major cryptocurrencies suffered falls this week as China cracked down even harder, while the Evergrande crisis rattled global markets, including …
24 Sep 2021

Most Popular

A nightmare 1970s scenario for investors is edging closer
Investment strategy

A nightmare 1970s scenario for investors is edging closer

Inflation need not be a worry unless it is driven by labour market shortages. Unfortunately, writes macroeconomist Philip Pilkington, that’s exactly w…
17 Sep 2021
Two shipping funds to buy for steady income
Investment trusts

Two shipping funds to buy for steady income

Returns from owning ships are volatile, but these two investment trusts are trying to make the sector less risky.
7 Sep 2021
Should investors be worried about stagflation?
US Economy

Should investors be worried about stagflation?

The latest US employment data has raised the ugly spectre of “stagflation” – weak growth and high inflation. John Stepek looks at what’s going on and …
6 Sep 2021