Tesco is understood to have had a change of heart over plans to flog off DunnHumby and is instead pursuing the sale of a majority stake in the business.
According to a report on Reuters, which cites “a source familiar with the situation”, Tesco does not want a “100% exit from DunnHumby”. Instead it is looking for “a trade or strategic buyer, or private equity buying a majority stake and Tesco keeping the rest”.
The supermarket giant would then benefit from another party investing in the company to develop the industry’s next wave of data.
Around six or seven parties, including private equity-led consortiums, have shown a serious interest in the business, the source said, although talks are still in the early stages.
One reason for the rethink is that a partial sale would give the company greater control over which firms DunnHumby was allowed to work for, allowing it to block rivals from using the data firm’s analytical services.
As well as running Clubcard, DunnHumby works with 400 of the largest retailers and brand-owners across the world, including Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, Diageo, GlaxoSmithKline and Mondelez International, although none are direct rivals to Tesco.
Goldman Sachs was appointed in January to explore strategic options for DunnHumby, which analysts value at up to £2bn.
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