Sorrell’s S4Capital takes big leap forward with Silicon Valley digital specialist Firewood

Sir Martin Sorrell isn’t just a critic (see yesterday) but a doer too.

Now his new S4Capital has “merged” Firewood, claimed to be Silicon Valley’s largest digital agency with MediaMonks, the foundation of the S4 empire. Firewood, reported to have cost $150m, ticks lots of boxes.

Founded by Juan and Zanya Zambrano (below) in 2010 it’s said to be a proponent of “embedded” client partnerships, working as an extension of client marketing teams, as in various ways do rivals You and Mr Jones’ Oliver and various WPP operations. It employs over 300 people in San Francisco, Mountain View, Sandpoint, New York, Dublin (Google’s official European home), London and Mexico City. It’s S4’s biggest acquisition so far after Amsterdam-based MediaMonks.

Furthermore 38 per cent of its employees are from diverse ethnic backgrounds, 67 per cent are women with the leadership made up of 64 per cent women.

Executive chairman Sorrell says: “This merger is a further step in creating a new era communications services leader. Firewood has an enviable client list comprising many of Silicon Valley’s finest; and we are delighted to welcome Juan, Lanya and their colleagues to the S4Capital family. We will now have over 1,800 professionals in 23 countries, with over 500 in each of two nodes, one in Silicon Valley and one in Amsterdam.”

Co-founder Juan Zambrano says: “We came from the client world and had a very different and non-agency mindset. From day one, we created an integrated and disruptive model built on transparency and collaboration that supported becoming extensions of our clients and something that other agencies weren’t doing. We are delighted to be teaming up with MediaMonks and joining the S4Capital platform. We believe this is an exciting next step for our clients and colleagues and we look forward to continued growth and success.”

S4 may still be a minnow in relation to the big ad holding companies and, more pertinently perhaps, the likes of Accenture Interactive but it’s a fish with teeth and now scale.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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