S4′s profits and expenses both widen

A jump in revenue and billings was offset by costs associated with the company's ongoing expansion.
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S4 Capital seems to be sticking to the idea that you need to spend money to make money, as both profits and expenses grew in the first half of 2021.

The holding company – which brought its holdings under the unified Media.Monks banner last month – increased its like-for-like net profit by 49% in the six months ended June 30, made up of 33% growth in Q1 jumping to 66% in Q2. That was driven by an 82% increase in like-for-like gross billings, with new clients this year including Shopify, Burberry, Instacart, TikTok, Toblerone and Tiffany.

However, the growth in revenue also came with a jump in operating expenses, which grew by 43% on a like-for-like basis. Overall, S4 ended the first six months of 2021 with a 21.6 million pound loss.

In addition to first half personnel costs nearly doubling year-over-year, S4 also had significant expenses related to its ongoing growth and acquisitions. This year, those have included digital design and production studio Jam3 and Brazilian digital marketing firm Racoon. The company’s acquisitions have continued since the end of the quarter, including Salesforce specialist agency Destined in July and merging Media.Monks with Los Angeles-based culture agency Cashmere last week.

Expecting its growth strategy to pay off, S4 has increased its guidance from 35% net revenue growth to 40%.

By practice area, revenue from content-related services grew by 51% on a like-for-like basis, with digital and data services growing by 47%. The Americas, S4′s largest market, grew its revenue by 47%, with EMEA growing by 60% and Asia-Pacific growing by 43%.