Mark Penn, a Microsoft senior executive who formerly worked at WPP, is leaving the technology firm to found a new company that will invest in digital marketing services.
Mr. Penn’s new fund, Stagwell Group LLC, has raised $250 million in funding, including from former Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who is a core investor in the new company.
Stagwell Group also has the capacity to use leverage to make up to $750 million in acquisitions, the company announced Wednesday. Stagwell Group will focus on investing in companies that are “digital-first” and can use technology and data to inform creative work, Mr. Penn said. In addition to digital marketing services, the fund said it may invest in advertising, research, data analytics and public relations.
“There’s a lot of room for new blood in the advertising and marketing industry,” said Mr. Penn, who will leave his current role as executive vice president at Microsoft by September. “Every client is looking for how to combine good advertising creative with good data analytics. I don’t think they’re getting those answers from the companies they’ve got, even if they’ve got some of the biggest companies in the world.”