Some M&A is afoot on this planet of market analysis and evaluation: WPP at this time introduced that it will promote 60% of Kantar — the agency that gives stats and insights on how customers purchase and consider merchandise in companies in areas like expertise, media, well being and extra (we’ve written many a narrative on TechCrunch citing Kantar figures) — to Bain Capital, the non-public fairness agency. The all-cash transaction is predicted to web Kantar $3.1B — minus tax and persevering with investments that it’ll make in Kantar after the deal — and it values Kantar at $four billion (or £3.2 billion), London-based WPP mentioned.
The deal is a biggie that caps off months of hypothesis, after WPP introduced in October 2018 that it deliberate to search for an outdoor investor to take a stake in Kantar, partly to boost some income from the transaction, and partly to have recent funding within the operation. The plan had at all times been for WPP to maintain a stake, since there are a whole lot of areas the place Kantar works with different components of WPP, one of many world’s greatest promoting companies.
Others who had been excited by shopping for the stake reportedly additionally included CVC, Apollo and Platinum.
The partial divestment underscores each how WPP has been reorganising and redefining itself within the wake of the departure of its longtime CEO and figurehead Martin Sorrell final yr, who resigned underneath a cloud of controversy.
Mark Learn, who took over as CEO within the wake of that, has taken a unique strategy in relation to M&A, partly to offset sluggish progress, and that is one product of that.
“Kantar is a good enterprise and we look ahead to working with Bain Capital to unlock its full potential. As a strategic companion and shareholder in Kantar, WPP will proceed to learn from its future progress whereas our shoppers proceed to learn from its companies and capabilities,” Learn mentioned in a press release. “I wish to thank [Kantar CEO] Eric Salama, his workforce and everybody at Kantar for his or her large contribution to WPP – a contribution that can proceed as we develop the enterprise collectively. This transaction creates worth for WPP shareholders and additional simplifies our firm. With a a lot stronger stability sheet and a return of roughly 8% of our present market worth to shareholders deliberate, we’re making good progress with our transformation.”
As ever extra of our media consumption strikes to digital platforms, firms like Kantar which were constructed to trace that exercise have had a possibility to progress their positioning and relevance to the larger image of how media is used.
Others that compete in opposition to it on this space embody Nielsen and comScore. The latter has had a tougher time of it, nevertheless, with a sizeable quantity of company upheaval and a tumbling inventory value: it just lately introduced that it will be elevating as much as $50 million to rebuild and recapitalise its enterprise.
“Our new possession construction presents an excellent alternative for Kantar, our staff and our shoppers. In Bain Capital we’ve got a companion who shares our ambition, brings related experience and – with WPP – might help us speed up our progress and impression for shoppers,” mentioned Salama, in . “We’re centered on delivering ‘human understanding at scale and pace’ and the ‘better of Kantar’ extra persistently. We’ll accomplish that by investing extra in expertise and by turning into a extra technology-driven options supplier.”
It’s not clear whether or not Bain was chosen as the very best bidder, or as a result of it appeared like the most effective companion for the deal when it comes to frequent strategic targets, or a mixture of each.
In any case, the plan shall be to develop the enterprise by means of extra investments and acquisitions.
“Kantar is a market chief in lots of areas and we’re excited to be partnering with its administration workforce and WPP to construct on this outstanding platform for progress,” mentioned Luca Bassi, an MD at Bain Capital Non-public Fairness, in a press release. “We see many alternatives for enlargement and can put money into expertise to develop the corporate’s capabilities and reinforce its world main place.”
“We consider that we’re well-positioned to help Kantar, alongside WPP, in driving ahead the enterprise in a quickly altering business,” added Christophe Jacobs van Merlen, one other MD. “Our deep sector information, operational experience and robust monitor report of partnering with administration groups to speed up progress offers us confidence that we might help Kantar develop each organically and by acquisition.”
Different tech/media holdings within the Bain Capital portfolio embody I Coronary heart Media and ADK, an Asian advert company.