Sir Martin Sorrell has been called to appear as a witness in a Dutch court case as part of a legal dispute between former shareholders of Mediamonks, which the ad veteran’s S4 Capital PLC (LON:SFOR) bought last summer.
A former senior executive of MediaMonks is considering taking Mediamonks’ senior managers to court, arguing that he might be entitled to a chunk of the £266mln that S4 paid for the company last July.
There is no suggestion of wrongdoing on Sorrell’s part.
Roger Schalken, who held less than a 1% stake in Mediamonks, thinks bosses at the Dutch content creator had already started sale talks with potential buyers when he departed in November 2017.
When he left, Schalken said he sold his stake back to the company for around €17,200 (£15,750).
But had he stayed in his position until Mediamonks was acquired by S4 a few months later, his stake would likely have been worth several times more.
According to a ruling in the Netherlands, there is enough evidence for a provisional witness hearing to take place, and Sorrell has been called to give evidence.
Mediamonks bosses have rebuffed the claims, but the Dutch court said Schalken had put forward “sufficiently concrete starting points” which showed his argument was more than a “fishing expedition”.
The hearing is due to take place in December, after which Schalken will decide whether to take out a lawsuit.
In a statement, S4 Capital 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.”
S4 Capital shares were up 0.7% to 144p on Wednesday morning.