Thought Sir Martin Sorrell had been strangely quiet recently. One reason would have been that he was waiting to announce S4Capital’s 2021 financial results, due today.
But just before 4pm, the go-go digital marketing services group, built around the Media.Monks content business, announced these were postponed:
“At 2:30pm today (30 March 2022) our auditors, PwC informed us that they were unable to complete the work necessary for S4 Capital to release the preliminary statement tomorrow morning.
“As a result, the company will release its preliminary results for 2021 as soon as PwC have completed their work.
“The company believes that the results for 2021 remain within the range of market expectations and continued to trade strongly in the first two months of 2022.”
S4C’s shares fell by a third, wiping around £1bn off its value with executive chairman Sorrell’s paper fortune down £100m. The shares have recovered slightly since but are trading around £3 compared to a yeqr high of over £8. S4C is now valued at £1.69bn.
To pull your annual results at such short notice is almost unheard of and will remind investors of the disaster that almost overwhelmed M&C Saatchi when its auditors refused to sign off accounts due to revenue being recognised too early. S4C’s structure is not dissimilar to M&C, with executives in its far flung empire also being shareholders in the overall business.
In 2018 Sorrell left WPP, the massive ad holding company he founded in 1985. This followed a boardroom row over alleged personal misconduct – which he strongly denies.