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Sir Martin Sorrell hails surging revenues at his new advertising business

JIM ARMITAGE

Former WPP chief Sir Martin Sorrell today declared his new digital-only business was in the “sweet spot” of the advertising world as the companies he has bought reported surging revenues.

Sir Martin left WPP under a cloud last year but launched a start-up focusing solely on online ads, buying content producer MediaMonks and automated “programmatic” ad-space buying firm MightyHive.

Revenues from the businesses are up 58% at £135.9 million for the year to 31 December, with underlying profit of £21 million in what were the first set of figures for the new firm.

Sir Martin said the digital market was growing at 20-30% while the market for the big holding companies such as WPP, Publicis and others was only growing at 2-3%.

“We’re in the sweet spot of the industry and we’re now focused on deepening and broadening client relationships and geographical coverage,” he said. That would be largely through organic growth although he is in talks to buy a Latin American programmatic ad business and a European content maker.

“We’ve won a lot of new business but now we want a few whoppers. A few whales as I like to call them.”

He was speaking days after receiving a £2.1 million bonus from his long term WPP incentive plan. WPP is now in a fight to cut costs and modernise for the digital era. Asked what he thought of WPP’s prospects, he pointedly did not refer to chief executive Mark Read, highlighting his deputy instead: “The jury is out. I have great faith in Andrew Scott.”