We never realised Sir Martin Sorrell was a petrolhead but, not content with being a board member of Grand Prix racing governing body F1, his company WPP has just bought a minority stake in motor racing agency Just Marketing International.
JMI, founded 16 years ago by former US racing driver Zak Brown, is also big in Nascar and Indycar racing. Its clients include LG Electronics, Johnnie Walker, UBS and Subway restaurants.
According to Sir Martin: “Motorsport is a very interesting area. It is very global, it has good reach, and with its live events has tremendous cross-media and new media opportunities.”
Brown says: “This deal will be a very big benefit to the industry. At the end of the day, when Sir Martin makes a statement about investing in JMI, it must give confidence in motorsport’s future and bring in more money and clients.”
FI is owned by CVC Capital Partners and run by English racing veteran Bernie Ecclestone. Sorrell recently backed a proposal from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation to buy the business from CVC although whether or not that bid is still live is open to debate, given News Corp’s current difficulties.