Ad man Sir Martin Sorrell looks to Korea and London in two new mergers

Advertising tycoon Sir Martin Sorrell has started the week by expanding his rapidly growing media empire with two new acquisitions in the UK and South Korea.

The Briton, who is credited with building advertising giant WPP which he left last year, has brought London-based ConversionWorks into the fold.

The digital analytics company helps firms such as Boots, Diageo, Schuh, Giffgaff and Wiggle predict how their customers will behave, target them, and gather data.

Managing director Russell Sutton said regulation in the EU, such as GDPR, means companies often look for outside help to stay within the rules.

“Marketers need experts to help them adapt to new analytics standards, to remain compliant and to gain valuable insights required to grow their business, specifically in the European market where data privacy regulation and technology changes have further complicated the process,” he said.

The company will merge with MightyHive, a part of Sir Martin’s S4 Capital group, which he set up after leaving WPP.

MightyHive will also merge with South Korea-based Datalicious Korea, a Google Analytics company which helps firms measure if their social media campaigns are paying off.

It counts Samsung and Adidas among its clients.

“Asia-Pacific is the world’s fastest-growing economic region and we are thrilled to join the MightyHive operations locally,” said Datalicious chief executive Sun-Young Kim.

MightyHive has expanded to 15 countries and 21 cities since being taken over by Sir Martin’s S4 Capital just over 10 months ago.

The rapid growth of S4, largely fuelled through nine acquisitions or mergers, has set Sir Martin up as an independent operator after he left WPP under a cloud in 2018.

The ad man did not reveal what he had paid for the new companies, but earlier this month he revealed to the PA news agency that the cash left over from a £122.5 million fundraiser after purchasing California-based Firewood for £63 million would be ploughed into another merger “shortly”.

Sir Martin and chief growth officer Scott Spirit said: “We are delighted to welcome both Russell and Sun-Young and their colleagues to S4 Capital.”

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