Sorrell set for comeback with new advertising venture
|bbc.com 29 May 2018 at 15:52|
Sir Martin, 73, the driving force behind 33 years of dealmaking at WPP, stepped down in April after the board investigated claims of misconduct.
Confirmation of the Derriston deal, first reported by Sky News, is expected in an announcement early on Wednesday.
After he left WPP, Sir Martin said he was in no hurry to retire from business and spoke of creating a "next generation" advertising group.
He is expected to become chairman of Derriston, which is little more than a listed company name with cash in the bank. It has been on the London Stock Exchange since 2016.
Sky News, citing an unnamed source close to the transaction, said Derriston would acquire S4 Capital, an entity controlled by Sir Martin, and that he would put £40m of his own money into the venture.
Institutional investors including Lombard Odier, Miton, RIT Capital Partners, Schroders and Toscafund would add a further £11m.
WPP must make Sorrell probe public
Sir Martin, who was the highest paid chief executive of a FTSE 100 company and also the longest-serving, once said he would "carry on until they carry me out of the glue factory".
His decision to acquire Derriston has echoes of his reverse takeover of a small listed firm, Wire and Plastics Products, in 1985.
That shopping baskets manufacturer was turned into WPP, and became the world s biggest advertising company with revenues of over £15bn.
However, WPP s fortunes have suffered recently and the share price has fallen in the wake of a downturn in business and the rise of social media giants.
He told a conference in New York recently that advertising agencies needed to become "more agile, more responsive, less layered, less bureaucratic, less heavy".
Sir Martin left WPP after allegations of misconduct and misuse of company money, although the findings of an internal report into the matter were never disclosed.
He has always strongly denied wrongdoing.
At the time he stood down, Sir Martin said WPP had been his passion, but it was in "the best interests of the business" to resign.