There has been a fresh flurry of speculation that WPP is poised to hand over a huge cheque to Tesco for a majority stake in DunnHumby, two months after reports first emerged that the group was lining up a bid.
The move also comes just a week after the marketing services giant revealed it had a £400m acquisition war-chest, to be spent on data and digital firms.
The new reports, sparked by a Bloomberg article, suggest WPP is close to agreeing a price for the company. The fact that Tesco now only wants to sell part of DunnHumby is likely to have made it a far more attractive deal for WPP, and brought it within its reach financially.
The original £2bn price tag would have ruled out only those businesses with the deepest of pockets, namely private equity groups. Clayton Dubilier & Rice and TPG have already been linked to the company.
WPP has yet to comment on the speculation but a majority stake would give Sir Martin Sorrell’s group access to one of the largest – and most respected – data businesses in the world. WPP already brings in more than £10bn in revenue from its data marketing operations; over 25% of its annual income.
Founded by husband and wife team Clive Humby and Edwina Dunn in 1989 in the kitchen of their Chiswick home, DunnHumby now employs more than 2,000 people in 30 countries.
It has run the Tesco 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.
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