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WPP announces proposed sale of 60 per cent of Kantar to Bain Capital

WPP is going through a major overhaul since last year.

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MUMBAI: One of the world’s largest advertising agencies, WPP, announced on Friday that it has entered into an agreement to sell 60 per cent stake in Kantar to US-based private equity firm Bain Capital. After severe turmoil in the last two years, especially after founder Martin Sorrell’s departure, the company is figuring out new ways to grow.

“Kantar is a great business and we look forward to working with Bain Capital to unlock its full potential. 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. 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.

“This transaction creates value for WPP shareholders and further simplifies our company. 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,” he added.

The proposed transaction of Bain Capital’s acquisition of 60 per cent of Kantar creates a strong partnership with WPP to accelerate the development of Kantar along with valuing it at c.$4 billion. WPP also highlighted that proceeds on completion, after tax and continuing investment in Kantar, were expected to be about $3.1 billion. It will further simplify and reposition WPP for growth, whilst unlocking significant value for shareholders.

“Our new ownership structure presents a great opportunity for Kantar, our employees and our clients. In Bain Capital we have a partner who shares our ambition, brings relevant expertise and – with WPP – can help us accelerate our growth and impact for clients. 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.

“We believe that we are well-positioned to support Kantar, alongside WPP, in driving forward the business in a rapidly changing industry. Our deep sector knowledge, operational expertise and strong track record of partnering with management teams to accelerate growth gives us confidence that we can help Kantar grow both organically and by acquisition,” Bain Capital Private Equity managing director Christophe Jacobs van Merlen said.

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