WPP sells majority of Kantar to Bain Capital

14 July, 2019, 16:44 | Author: Regina Silva
  • Salama aims to become 'more technology-driven solutions provider'

"Data is critical to WPP's clients and critical to WPP, but there's a growing number of sources of data", he told reporters, adding that clients cared most about whether WPP could use data to drive marketing programs, which it would continue to be able to do with Kantar after the deal.

Mark Read, chief executive officer, WPP, said "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".

FTSE 100 advertising firm WPP has revealed a plan to sell a stake in its data subsidiary Kantar to United States private equity firm Bain Capital.

WPP CEO Mark Read is now driving a turnaround strategy and in March announced a formal process to sell Kantar - home to the agencies formerly known as TNS, Millward Brown and Lightspeed - with WPP retaining a stake in the business.

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"Kantar has the advantage of being relatively self-contained and so can be split off from the parent with minimal restructuring costs ... the proceeds of the sale will drop straight through to the balance sheet and shareholders pockets", Nicholas Hyett, Equity Analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said.

WPP has today confirmed it is selling 60% of its stake in Kantar to Bain Capital, valued at around $4bn. Completion and associated proceeds relating to no less than 86% of Kantar are expected in early 2020, subject to approval by WPP shareholders and other customary regulatory and legal approvals.

The holding group said the transaction further simplifies and repositions it for growth, and will unlock value for shareholders. According to the company, the proposed transaction creates a strong partnership for the development and growth of Kantar and values the whole of Kantar at a headline enterprise value of c.$4.0 billion (c.£3.2 billion).

Eric Salama, Kantar CEO, said in a statement: "Our new ownership structure presents a great opportunity for Kantar, our employees and our clients. Our deep sector knowledge, operational expertise and strong track record of partnering with management teams to accelerate growth give us confidence that we can help Kantar grow both organically and by acquisition". 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", said Kantar CEO Eric Salama.

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