WPP invests in dance music company SFX

WPP has taken a minority share in SFX Entertainment, the digital media company and dance-music event specialist owned by billionaire investor Robert Sillerman.

Martin Sorrell: chief executive of WPP
Martin Sorrell: chief executive of WPP

SFX is based in New York and claims to reach an audience of 100 million dance music fans across its events, festivals, online and mobile media. It was founded in 2011 by Sillerman, the company’s chairman and chief executive.

Properties owned by SFX include the North American arm of Dutch entertainment company ID&T, Miami Marketing Group and online DJ community Beatport, which it bought for a reported $50m (£33m) last month.

Before founding SFX, Sillerman led CKX (now rebranded as Core Media Group) whose properties include reality shows ‘American Idol’ and ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and the rights to Elvis Presley's estate Graceland. The business was sold to Apollo Global Management in 2011.

In a statement, WPP said its operating companies would now be able to tap into the fast-growing international electronic dance music markets, primarily through sponsorship and branded entertainment.

Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP, said: "We recognise the value in what SFX is creating and believe we can help bring this valuable audience to our agencies' global clients.

"The challenge of navigating through digital and social media is daunting for clients and we believe this partnership can further develop WPP's content capabilities, particularly in new media in the youth consumer segment."

Sillerman said: "The investment from WPP is an exciting step for us as it underlines what we have believed from the start. There is a huge, global, fragmented audience of 16-34 year old dance music consumers that is very difficult to reach.

"In developing our global platform, we will be able to offer brands the opportunity to connect directly through events, festivals, online and mobile media."

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