Sir Martin Sorrell’s new company S4 Capital has confirmed it is now in advanced talks to buy Mightyhive, a programmatic advertising group based in San Francisco.
S4 plans to integrate the firm as part of its drive to form a new business combining media and technology.
It already confirmed talks were taking place last month, but issued a fresh update in response to “press speculation”.
The acquisition has not been confirmed, and S4 did not disclose the potential value of the purchase, which has been reported as worth up to $200m (£154m). “There can be no certainty as to whether the potential transaction will occur,” the company said.
Sorrell, who founded WPP, launched S4 Capital this year after leaving the advertising giant following an allegation of personal misconduct, which he has denied. Since then, he has been in close competition with his old company, including beating them in the race to buy Dutch digital agency Mediamonks for around €300m (£267m) in July.
Last month, S4 poached senior executive WPP executive, Michel de Rijk, as chief executive of its Asia-Pacific operations. It posted strong sales growth in the third quarter this year, delivering revenues of over €29m (£26.2m), a rise of almost 45 per cent.
The ad guru’s new business plans to bring together content, analytics and new technology to reach clients, based on a model which is focused on leveraging major tech platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
Mightyhive specialises in programmatic advertising, and has worked with firms such as Opentable, Yamaha and Sephora.
In a statement which repeated a report from its board in early November, S4 said: “The potential transaction, if consummated, is in line with the company's stated strategy of creating a new era, new media solution embracing data, content and technology in an always-on environment for global, multi-national, regional and local clients and for millennial-driven digital brands.”