Digital ad agency You & Mr Jones in talks with banks about $3bn US float

The ‘brandtech’ specialist is interviewing investment banks ahead of a public listing in New York that could come as soon as the first half of next year, Sky News learns.

Digital ad agency You & Mr Jones in talks with banks about $3bn US float

Image: You & Mr Jones was founded in 2015 by David Jones. Pic: Y&MJ

A digital marketing services group founded by a British advertising executive is plotting a public listing in New York that could value it at more than $3bn (£2.2bn).

Sky News has learnt that You & Mr Jones, which was set up by David Jones in 2015, is holding talks with banks ahead of a prospective initial public offering (IPO) or merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).

Industry sources said that You & Mr Jones could pursue a listing as soon as the first half of 2022, and that its valuation was likely to be pitched anywhere between $3bn and $4bn (£2.9bn).

The company, which counts Adidas, Danone, Facebook, LVMH and Microsoft among its clients, is positioned as a ‘brandtech’ specialist which helps consumer-facing businesses build their brands more effectively in an era of fast-changing technology.

Digital ad agency You & Mr Jones in talks with banks about $3bn US float

Image: Facebook is among the company's clients

Mr Jones, who was previously the boss of the French marketing services group Havas, has raised hundreds of millions of pounds to finance its growth during the last five years.

Among its investors are the UK-based funds Merian Chrysalis and Baillie Gifford.

You & Mr Jones is headquartered in New York, and employs thousands of people in a network spanning 40 countries, including Argentina, China, India, Mexico and the US.

A big chunk of its revenues comes from Oliver, which designs and runs in-house agencies on behalf of clients.

In April, it hired Nick Emery, the former head of WPP Group’s media buying division Mindshare, to spearhead a push into media services.

The group’s $260m Series B fundraising, which closed earlier this year, was reported to value it at $1.3bn, meaning its valuation has more than doubled if its listing plans proceed as expected.

Demand for digital marketing services grappling with the power of Alphabet’s Google division and Facebook has soared in recent times, and is expected to continue growing at a rapid rate.

In the UK, Sir Martin Sorrell, the former WPP chief, has built S4 Capital into a £5bn company through more than two dozen acquisitions and organic growth since launching it three years ago.

In an emailed response to an enquiry from Sky News, Mr Jones wrote: “Given that You & Mr Jones is growing at a phenomenal rate and creating a new category, we get a lot of approaches and various conversations happen all the time.

“I look at different holiday destinations all the time but it doesn’t mean I go there.”

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