S4 Capital kicks off the new year with mergers for MediaMonks and MightyHive

S4 Capital, the digital advertising and marketing services company venture founded by Sir Martin Sorrell, has entered the new year with two new mergers to create a “new age advertising and marketing services model”.

US creative, technology and media agency, Decoded Advertising, will be merged into S4 Capital’s creative digital content production company MediaMonks. Meanwhile, performance marketing agency Metric Theory will join the company’s data and digital media consultancy MightyHive.


Sir Martin Sorrell speaking at Mumbrella 360

The accelerated growth of the business via these latest mergers is attributed to the the uncertainty surrounding Brexit finally being resolved, with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson signing a trade deal with the EU last week.

Sorrell said the mergers continue the momentum as the business looks towards its objectives for 2021, not only in Europe, but in the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Africa and the Middle-East. Further moves are to be announced shortly.

“Matt and his colleagues at Decoded share our vision of using data to develop and produce effective creative work and distribute campaigns through digital media. They have created an award-winning, highly successful agency, which will be a significant addition to the family,” Sorrell said.

“Our data and digital media practice is founded on providing clients with transparency and measurable results, two values at the heart of the business Ken and his colleagues have built at Metric Theory.”

The consideration for both Decoded and Metric Theory will be paid half in cash and half by the issue of S4 Capital Ordinary Shares, with minimum customary lock-ups and no earn-outs.

S4 Capital’s growth strategy operates on mergers with other agencies rather than acquisitions. Speaking at Mumbrella 360: Reconnected last year, Sorrell said that the acquisition model is “more akin to the last millennium than it is to this millennium because it breathes too much fragmentation.”

“What we are looking for is unity of effort and our mission is to build that new age, new era model. A new advertising services model, and disrupt the old. We think the ad holding companies are no longer fit for purpose and past their sell-by date,” Sorrell

Decoded Advertising will bring almost 200 people across New York and Los Angeles and clients including Intuit, SC Johnson,T-Mobile, Visa and WW International into the S4 Capital fold. The agency was founded in 2014 by Matt Rednor, proclaiming to bridge the gap between meaningful storytelling, data-led optimisations and commerce.

Rednor said: “Since day one it’s been our goal to explore every strategic, creative and media lever at our disposal to build better brands and deliver better performance results. In S4 Capital, we’ve found a group of like-minded collaborators that immediately expand our ability to disrupt the industry with a more modern approach to creativity.”

MediaMonks founder and S4 executive director, Wesley ter Haar, added: “The past two years have seen us increasingly working for clients across our data, creative and digital media practices and the expertise and experience Matt and his colleagues bring us will heighten our ability to deliver a truly unified offer.”

Metric Theory was founded in 2012 by Ken Baker, Jeremy Brown, Jeff Buenrostro and Adam Edwards, and boasts a range of B2B and B2C clients including Gofundme, Hill House Home, Maisonette, and Very Great. The agency’s 130 staff from San Francisco, Denver, New York and Orange County will all join S4 Capital.

Christopher Martin, MightyHive co-founder and S4 Capital executive director, said Metric Theory’s services will build out the agency’s data and digital media practice.

“As we look to expand our data and digital media practice in line with client demand, welcoming Ken and his colleagues to the family allows us to combine our existing capabilities with their best-in-class performance media competencies to create a broad-based digital media offering,” Martin said.

Together, Decoded and Metric Theory will add a projected combined gross profit of approximately US$70 million in 2020 to S4 Capital, which represents 50% growth over 2019.

Last year, Sorrell told Mumbrella of his plan to rebrand MediaMonks and MightyHive, to bring the “two pillars” of the business closer together under a “single branded approach”.

“In 2021, [an] objective will be to reinforce that unitary structure and you will see us rebrand the company on the back of MediaMonks’ 20th anniversary which next year will bring,” Sorrell said.

“In ‘19 and ‘20 we have added seven content operations and seven data and analytics and digital media operations each to MediaMonks and MightyHive and we will be bringing those together in a more unitary way. We are working through that but we are really moving towards a much more single branded approach. We think that is the right way to go.”


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