Former WPP boss, Sir Martin Sorrell, has set the stage for his come back with plans to take the helm of a shell company specialising in medical technology, Derriston Capital PLC.
Sky News reported that, Sorrell would become the Executive Chairman of Derriston Capital PLC with the company agreeing to acquire Sorrell’s newly established entity, S4 Capital. Details of the WPP founder’s plans are likely to be disclosed in an announcement shortly, although formal confirmation could be delayed.
Sir Martin is understood to be committing £40m of his own money to the new venture, with institutional investors initially providing £11m to become shareholders in Derriston, which has a standard listing on the main London market.
By taking over Derriston, Sir Martin will have embarked upon an explicit attempt to replicate the success he enjoyed at WPP, where he became Chief Executive in 1986 before acquiring some of the world’s most famous advertising agency networks.
Since his exit from WPP, Sir Martin has dropped hints about starting again, telling a conference in New York this month that successful agencies in future would need to be “more agile, more responsive, less layered, less bureaucratic, less heavy” than traditional advertising firms.
Sir Martin’s contract with WPP did not have a non-compete clause, leaving him free to establish a business in direct rivalry with the owner of J Walter Thompson, Ogilvy and Young & Rubicam.
However, he remains a significant shareholder in WPP, with share options worth an estimated £19m payable to him over the next three years depending upon his former employer’s performance.