WPP tipped to sell stake in Kantar

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 25 October 2018
Mark Read

WPP is tipped to sell a majority stake in Kantar and announce the move in its third-quarter results this week, according to reports.

The holding company has previously signalled that it could split out the market research business but in May batted away speculation the Kantar sale was imminent. 

The company is looking to retain a minority stake in what would be WPP's largest sale since Mark Read took over from Martin Sorrell as CEO.

According to the WSJ, WPP leadership met earlier this month to discuss the future of the company and Read announced he was looking to reduce the business' share in Kantar.

It comes as WPP battles to reduce its debt and simplify its expansive portfolio with Read tasked with mass consolidation, which he kicked off recently by merging VML and Y&R.

Kantar is valued at between $4 billion and $6 billion and global CEO Eric Salama is said to have been meeting with various potential backers, banks and private equity firms since May.

Locally, Kantar is led by CEO Jon Foged, who was apppointed in February, and Australian operations are far smaller compared to the US and UK.

Also announced today out of the US, WPP said its integrating its specialist health networks under agency brands, which it expects to be completed in 2019. 

Under the new integration plan, the Sudler network will combine with VMLY&R to create VMLY&R Health, Ogilvy CommonHealth will join Ogilvy to create OgilvyHealth and GHG will join Wunderman to create Wunderman Health.

Grey and J. Walter Thompson will continue offering existing integrated healthcare services.

In other WPP news, WPP AUNZ's stock plummeted this week following the resignation of long-time CEO Mike Connaghan. Yesterday, the global network received another blow with GroupM losing Mercedes. The news comes a week after it lost three major global accounts.

Got something to say about WPP? Email me on lindsaybennett@yaffa.com.au

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