Sorrell’s S4 Raises $146 Million for ‘Aggressive’ Deal Chase

S4 Capital Plc, the digital advertising and marketing group founded by former WPP Plc boss Martin Sorrell, raised 116 million pounds ($146 million) in a stock offering to fund acquisitions.

The company sold 29.7 million shares to a mix of existing and new investors at 315 pence each, while directors bought a further 7.1 million shares, it said in a statement Thursday. The final price on the offering, which represents about 7.5% of the company’s equity capital, is equal to S4’s last closing price.

S4 beat its initial fundraising target of 100 million pounds. Sorrell subscribed to new stock worth about 8.5 million pounds, according to the filing. The company’s shares rose as much as 7.1% in London trading Thursday, hitting an all-time high and giving S4 a market value of more than 1.6 billion pounds.

“The eye of the storm is passing, so we feel that now is the time to think aggressively,” Sorrell said in a phone interview Wednesday, acknowledging the risks of new waves of the coronavirus. Sorrell said that the oversubscribed offering meant six “major” new investors would join S4’s shareholder register.

S4 said in a statement announcing the fundraising proposal Wednesday that the money would “provide flexibility and firepower” to accelerate its merger strategy. HSBC Holdings Plc and Dowgate Capital Ltd. led the offering as joint global coordinators, while Jefferies International Ltd. acted as a joint bookrunner.

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 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.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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