Sorrell eyes chunk of data market in new S4 acquisition

digital_disciplines2S4 Capital is planning a major smash and grab raid on the data analytics and modelling market following the acquisition of London-based Brightblue Consulting, with boss Sir Martin Sorrell vowing to disrupt the multibillion-dollar industry “with a modern new-era approach which is faster, better and cheaper”.

Brightblue was founded in 2012 by Michael Cross, who had previously been chief data science officer at Predictive Hire and had also worked at Mindshare and Ninah Consulting.

The company’s business is focused on evaluating and optimising marketing ROI and providing a level playing field for offline, online and social media optimisation. Brightblue employs over 25 mathematicians and econometricians, working for clients including Co-op, Royal Mail, Secret Escapes, Hiscox, NHS, LV, and Habito.

Following the deal, Brightblue will be merged into data and digital media practice MightyHive, which was one of S4’s first acquisitions, when it paid $150m for the business in December 2018. Since then, S4 has also purchased UK firm ConversionWorks and South Korea business Datalicious Korea to merge into MightyHive. 

Sorrell, who has been a long-term advocate of data-driven marketing, said: “Data, particularly first-party data, is at the heart of S4 Capital’s ‘holy trinity’ business model. Brightblue’s skills in making sense of it and using it to drive profitable growth are a timely addition to our client-focused service offering.

“We believe the measurement and modelling systems in our industry are in dire need of innovation. They are either too slow and traditional and no longer fit for purpose, or too narrowly confined to digital channels. We look forward to disrupting this multibillion-dollar industry with a modern new-era approach which is faster, better and cheaper.”

MightyHive co-Founder and S4 Capital executive director Christopher Martin said: “As we head into a post-cookie world without many existing forms of measurement, Brightblue’s predictive modelling solutions better prepare us for a future where marketers will have an ever-increasing demand for advice around effectiveness.”

Cross concluded: “Our shared entrepreneurial, results-driven cultures and our joint ambition to disrupt the existing industry models are a perfect match. Our ability to provide unrivalled marketing evaluation in days to our clients aligns very much with the S4 Capital faster, better, and cheaper approach, and we very much look forward to the integration and subsequent global reach that MightyHive and S4Capital deliver.”

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