WPP is selling a 60% stake in Kantar to private equity firm Bain Capital, with the data unit valued at around US$4 billion in the proposed deal.
The sale of the data and analytics unit is part of WPP’s comeback strategy which has included job cuts and agency restructures.
WPP says the sale will further simply and reposition it for growth. It expects proceedings after tax of around US$3.1 billion, with it retaining 60% of net proceeds to reduce its debt.
Mark Read, WPP CEO, says it will continue to work with Bain Capital.
“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,” Read says.
“This transaction creates value for WPP shareholders and further simplifies our company. With a much stronger balance sheet and a return of approximately 8% of our current market value to shareholders planned, we are making good progress with our transformation.”
The sale of Kantar was originally flagged in October last year and WPP says it attracted “significant levels of interest from potential financial partners”.
“Kantar is a market leader in many areas and we are excited to be partnering with its management team and WPP to build on this remarkable platform for growth,” says Luca Bassi, a MD at Bain Capital.
“We see many opportunities for expansion and will invest in technology to expand the company’s capabilities and reinforce its global leading position.”
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