WPP has finally offloaded a majority stake in its data and analytics company Kantar to private-equity firm Bain Capital, in a deal which values the business at $4bn (£3.19bn).
The sell-off had been flagged up in October last year, as part of WPP boss Mark Read’s strategy to slash debt. Goldman Sachs was appointed to oversee the process.
WPP confirmed it has reached an agreement to sell 60% of Kantar, which will bring in about $3.1bn (£2.5bn) to the group’s coffers on completion after tax and continuing investment. Most of the money has been allocated to reduce group debt, with $1.2bn (£960,000) of the proceeds set to go to shareholders.
Bain reportedly entered into exclusive talks for Kantar last week after beating rival companies Apollo Global Management, Platinum Equity and Vista Equity Partners.
Read said: “[The deal] creates value for WPP shareholders and further simplifies our company. Kantar is a great business and we look forward to working with Bain Capital to unlock its full potential. As a strategic partner and shareholder in Kantar, WPP will continue to benefit from its future growth, while our clients continue to benefit from its services and capabilities.”
Bain managing director Luca Bassi said: “We will invest in technology to expand the company’s capabilities and reinforce its global leading position.”
Meanwhile Kantar chief executive Eric Salama added: “In Bain Capital, we have a partner who shares our ambition, brings relevant expertise and – with WPP – can help us accelerate our growth and impact for clients. We are focused on delivering ‘human understanding at scale and speed’ and the ‘best of Kantar’ more consistently. We will do so by investing more in talent and by becoming a more technology-driven solutions provider.”
The sale is subject to approval by WPP shareholders and regulators.
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