NEWS2 July 2019

Bain Capital nears deal for stake in Kantar

Media News North America UK

UK – WPP has confirmed it has entered exclusive talks with US private equity firm Bain Capital in the Kantar sale process.

Mark Read

The discussions with Bain involve “the sale of a majority shareholding in Kantar” in a deal valuing Kantar at around $4bn, WPP said in a statement issued following “press speculation”.

The sale, which has seen multiple bidders shortlisted, has not been finalised and is still subject to negotiation. “There is no certainty that these discussions will result in a transaction involving Kantar,” WPP said.

Selling a stake in Kantar is part of WPP chief executive Mark Read’s plans to reduce the company’s debt. Read (pictured) has previously said WPP hoped to retain a 25% to 40% stake.

WPP wanted to finalise the process, which began in 2018, around the end of the second quarter.

Speaking at Cannes Lions recently, Kantar chief executive Eric Salama described the sale as an “energising process”, adding: “There’s a lot we could do in that set-up that we couldn’t do within WPP, and we’re all excited about it.”

At the company’s AGM last month, WPP said its full-year guidance had not changed and it was “making progress” in its plans to return to sustainable growth.