Sir Martin Sorrell has been called to appear in court as a witness as part of a legal dispute between former shareholders of a company which Sorrell acquired to rebuild his career.
A former senior executive and investor in Mediamonks is considering taking out a lawsuit against the Dutch content company’s previous managers, arguing he might be entitled to a chunk of the sale proceeds after it was sold to Sorrell’s S4 Capital in July last year for £266m.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Sorrell.
Sorrell took over S4 Capital after he was forced out of his former company, global marketing giant WPP. S4 has since acquired a number of companies as part of an ambitious growth strategy.
Rogier Schalken, who held less than a one per cent shareholding in Mediamonks, “suspects” that Mediamonks bosses had started sale talks with possible buyers when he left the business and sold his stake back to the company in November 2017 for €17,200 (£15,750).
Schalken sold his investment at a lower price than was paid by Sorrell, who was previously CEO of WPP which was also in the running to buy Mediamonks.
According to a ruling in the Netherlands, there is enough evidence for a provisional witness hearing to take place. Sorrell has been called to give evidence.
Following the hearing on 10 December in the Dutch city of Lelystad, Schalken will decide whether to take out a lawsuit.
The ruling, which lays the path for a provisional witness hearing, was opposed by Mediamonks bosses. It said Schalken “has put forward sufficiently concrete starting points to substantiate” his claim and that it wasn’t a merely a “fishing expedition”.
Sorrell said: “The matter is a dispute between former shareholders of Mediamonks. Any involvement of S4 Capital will only be as a witness in any action.”
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