Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital continues to grow, merging its digital production company MediaMonks with Amsterdam-based influencer marketing agency IMA.
IMA will retain its name and management team.
The move comes a little over a year after S4 Capital acquired MediaMonks for an estimated $350 million. Sorrell’s new holding company reportedly outbid WPP in the process, months after he resigned as CEO amid an investigation by the WPP board into alleged “personal misconduct.”
“This merger is yet another example of our focus on top line growth,” Sorrell said in a statement. “Influencer marketing is an important sub-set of the digital content marketing industry and is predicted to double in size over the next three years.”
“It’s with great pride we can today call ourselves part of the S4 Capital family,” added IMA co-founder Maddie Raedts. “Even more importantly, we hope this represents a success story that will help influence and inspire other female entrepreneurs and their endeavors.”
IMA brings to MediaMonks a network of more than 35,000 influencers, which it claims reaches billions of consumers globally across categories including fashion, retail, consumer electronics, automotive, travel, beauty and lifestyle.
“The cultural fit between both companies is spot-on and therefore, we foresee a seamless integration,” IMA CEO Anneke Schogt explained in a statement. “It is quite unique that both global companies were founded in Amsterdam, with the same disruptive entrepreneurial mindset. We see big opportunities together in the field of content and taking the influencer marketing movement to the next level.”
“The influencer space is only just starting to properly mature—and with S4Capital’s speed and worldwide scale, we can’t wait to fully leverage our network with the talent and new content capabilities throughout the Group,” added IMA co-founder Emilie Tabor.
Started in 2010 by Tabor and Raedts, IMA has since grown to a team of 85 digital content specialists, with Shogt joining as CEO in 2016. Along the way, IMA has grown its reputation as leading influencer marketing experts with work for brands including Under Armour, Diesel, Microsoft, Heineken, Pernod Ricard, Samsonite, Beiersdorf and Booking.com. MediaMonks’ merger represents a marked investment in the influencer marketing space, which is anticipated to grow from as much as $8 billion this year to up to $15 billion by 2022, according to Business Insider Intelligence estimates based on Mediakix data.
In a statement, MediaMonks CEO Victor Knapp said his agency’s global content studios for fashion, beauty and food meshed with IMA’s worldwide network of specialized influencers from IMA “makes a powerful tool for any brand.”
“IMA has been at the forefront as this industry has started to come of age,” Knapp said. “We look forward to working with its entrepreneurial team in developing how powerful influencers can be as part of a digital marketing strategy.”
The IMA merger is the latest in a string of mergers and acquisitions for S4 Capital. In addition to the MediaMonks acquisition, the company bought programmatic solutions provider MightyHive last December for an estimated $150 million.