WPP agrees to sell Kantar stake

14 Juillet, 2019, 16:42 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
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WPP has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell 60% of Kantar, its global data, research, consulting and analytics business, to Bain Capital (the "proposed transaction").

The London-based advertising group said the deal values all of Kantar at $4bn.

WPP plans to use 60 per cent of the proceeds from the transaction to reduce its leverage.

"With a much stronger balance sheet and a return of approximately 8 per cent of our current market value to shareholders planned, we are making good progress with our transformation".

Proceeds to WPP on completion after tax and continuing investment in Kantar are expected to be around $3.1bn (£2.5bn).

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News of the sale of a 60% stake in its Kantar market research division was nearly exactly in line with what investors were expecting from advertising giant WPP (WPP).

Kantar valued at $4 billion (£3.2 billion) in the proposed transaction, equivalent to a multiple of 8.2x 2018 Kantar headline EBITDA.

Luca Bassi, of Bain Capital says it sees "many opportunities for expansion" in Kantar. The rest of the money will be returned to shareholders, WPP said, adding the deal was subject to backing from investors and other regulatory and legal approvals. It will further simplify and reposition WPP for growth, whilst unlocking significant value for shareholders.

Bain Capital, an American private equity firm, will acquire a 60% stake in Kantar under the proposed transaction terms, with proceeds for WPP expected to be 3.1 billion United States dollars (£2.5 billion). With Bain Capital as a partner who shares its ambition and brings relevant expertise, Kantar can accelerate its growth and impact for its clients, he explained.

Another Bain managing director, Christophe Jacobs van Merlen, said the firm has "confidence" it can grow Kantar "both organically and by acquisition". We are focused on delivering "human understanding at scale and speed" and the "best of Kantar" more consistently. The deal is pending the approval of WPP shareholders and antitrust regulators in the European Union, the United States, Brazil, China, Russia, Turkey, South Korea, South Africa and Mexico.

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