NEWS4 February 2009

GfK and Apax tight-lipped on Synovate speculation


‘No comment’ from companies as report links them to a possible bid for Aegis’s MR agency

UK-- GfK and private equity house Apax Partners were silent today on speculation linking them with a potential takeover bid for Synovate, the research agency owned by media services group Aegis.

The Daily Telegraph claimed that GfK had held “informal discussions” with its advisors on the subject while Apax had been assessing Synovate for “weeks”, the paper said.

GfK was rumoured to have approached Apax seeking backing last year when it was looking to put together a bid to acquire TNS in opposition to WPP’s successful £1bn buyout offer.

Asked today about the Telegraph report, a GfK spokesman told Research there was “no indication that Synovate is on the market”, but he declined to comment further. An Apax representative said: “No comment”.

Speculation over Synovate’s future began in early January with reports that Aegis chairman John Napier was considering embarking on a strategic review of the group’s operations following the sudden departure in November of CEO Robert Lerwill. An Aegis spokesman said at the time there were no plans for such a review.

Contacted today, a spokesman declined to discuss the newspaper report, saying: “Aegis doesn't comment on market speculation.”

Author: James Verrinder

Related links:

Robert Lerwill in shock departure from Aegis