WPP sells 60% of Kantar to private equity firm Bain Capital

WPP will be selling a 60% stake of Kantar to Bain Capital for $4.0bn

WPP will be selling a 60% stake of Kantar to Bain Capital for $4.0bn

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").

Overall the sale would value Kantar, a data and insights company with more than 30,000 employees globally, at 4 billion USA dollars (£3.2 billion).

Net cash proceeds of the deal after tax and a £0.4bn reinvestment to retain a 40% stake in Kantar will amount to US$3.1bn.

WPP has today confirmed it is selling 60% of its stake in Kantar to Bain Capital, valued at around $4bn. The valuation of Kantar in the proposed transaction is equivalent to 8.2 times of Kantar's 2018 headline EBITDA. "I would like to thank Eric Salama, his team and everyone at Kantar for their tremendous contribution to WPP - a contribution that will continue as we develop the business together", WPP chief executive officer Mark Read said.

"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. The investment by Bain Capital Private Equity values Kantar at $4 billion. The aim is to further simplify and reposition WPP for growth, whilst unlocking significant value for shareholders. Around $1.2bn of the proceeds, however, will also be returned to shareholders by way of a dividend.

Eric Salama, Kantar CEO, said in a statement: "Our new ownership structure presents a great opportunity for Kantar, our employees and our clients". 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. We are focused on delivering "human understanding at scale and speed" and the "best of Kantar" more consistently.

Another Bain managing director, Christophe Jacobs van Merlen, said the firm has "confidence" it can grow Kantar "both organically and by acquisition".

Luca Bassi, a London-based managing director at Bain, said there were opportunities to invest in Kantar's technology to expand its capabilities.

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