Some of the world’s biggest private equity firms are reportedly eyeing up bids for WPP-owned data giant Kantar, as the marketing services group gears up to sell a majority stake.
According to a report in the Times, TPG, Apax Partners, Bain Capital and Cinven are understood to have shown strong interest in the business, which has been valued at up to £3.5bn.
WPP announced the plans last October and appointed Goldman Sachs to handle the sale, claiming that “unsolicited expressions of interest” had already been received.
At the time, WPP said: “We believe in the potential for Kantar but given our many priorities, we need to make tough choices and we believe that the best way to unlock this potential is with a strategic or financial partner.”
The move is part of global chief executive Mark Read’s plan to simplify the business, which has already seen the merger of JWT and Wunderman, as well as VML and Young & Rubicam.
Last year, The Financial Times reported that private equity firm CVC Capital had made enquiries about buying Kantar. In 2015, CVC was also linked with a bid for DunnHumby, which was put up for sale by Tesco, although the supermarket eventually abandoned the sell-off.
Founded in 1993, Kantar consists of a network of 12 specialised operating brands, including Kantar Media, Kantar Health and Kantar IMRB. It has around 30,000 employees working in 100 countries, with its HQ in London.
The company declined to comment, as did TPG, Apax, Bain and Cinven.
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