A major private equity firm is reportedly ready to make a swoop on Tesco-owned data analysis giant DunnHumby after already having one bid rejected.
The data company, valued at £2bn, has run the Clubcard programme for over 20 years but also works with 400 of the largest retailers and brand-owners across the world, including Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline and Mondelez International.
A sell-off could be tempting for Tesco as it could bank up to £2bn and still retain DunnHumby as a supplier, although it would raise serious concerns over the future of the Clubcard scheme. Calls for the retailer to abandon Clubcard have already been branded “suicidal” by some in the direct marketing industry.
Founded by husband and wife team Clive Humby and Edwina Dunn in 1989 in the kitchen of their Chiswick home, the business now employs more than 2,000 people in 30 countries, selling information from its 40-terabyte customer insight database. It has also acquired a number of businesses, including BzzAgent in the US.
Dunn and Humby resigned from the company in October 2010, and remained non-executive directors until finally stepping down last year. It is estimated the couple, who recently received the IDM’s Professor Derek Holder Lifetime Achievement Award, made £93m from the venture.
According to sources cited by Sky News, private equity buyout specialist TPG has already had one bid rejected several months ago but it is said to be still interested in potentially making an offer.
Meanwhile, Tesco’s the £250m accounting scandal has claimed another scalp after commercial director Kevn Grace became the fifth chief – including UK managing director Chris Bush – to be suspended from his role.
According to a report in the FT, new boss Dave Lewis has made clear that the actions taken against the Tesco executives are not “disciplinary or an admission of guilt”, although speculation over the cause of the cock-up is rife.
Axing Clubcard would be ‘suicidal’
DunnHumby woos data young guns
Dunn and Humby target social media
Dunn and Humby target theatreland
Dunn and Humby finally exit
DunnHumby buys marketing firm
Clarke: Clubcard will win us the war
Tesco ratchets up loyalty marketing
Clubcard to be even more personal
Waitrose takes swipe at Clubcard
Tesco tablet to boost data strategy
Tesco ‘to boost direct, digital spend’
Tesco pays price for ‘axing’ Clubcard