NEWS6 June 2011

Ipsos in talks about buying Synovate

M&A News

UK— French research group Ipsos is in talks with Aegis about a possible buyout of its research division Synovate.

The Financial Times revealed yesterday that talks were “at a very early stage” between the two companies, and Synovate’s parent company Aegis confirmed in a statement to the London Stock Exchange early this morning that it is “in discussions with Ipsos in relation to a potential transaction regarding [Aegis’s] market research business Synovate”.

“There can be no certainty that any agreement will be reached,” Aegis said.

According to the most recent revenue figures, a combined Ipsos and Synovate would form the fourth-largest market research business in the world, after Nielsen, Kantar and IMS Health.

There was speculation a few years ago about a possible tie-up between Aegis and Havas, both of which have French financier Vincent Bolloré as their largest shareholder. However Bolloré has said more recently that he no longer sees it as necessary to combine the two groups.

Ipsos’s revenues passed €1bn (£857m) in 2010, while Synovate made £350.7m net revenue and has been valued recently by analysts at around £500m.

In 2005 Ipsos CEO Didier Truchot (pictured) described Synovate as “a very nice and dynamic organisation”, amid speculation at the time that the division could be sold off in the wake of an acquisition of its parent company Aegis.

UPDATE 6/6/11 18:30
A statement from Ipsos bosses Jean-Marc Lech and Didier Truchot said that the talks with Aegis are with a view to creating “one team… under the Ipsos banner”.

The firm said that the discussions demonstrated its willingness to bring together “a combined team of research experts and powerful operational resources, allowing the company to pursue its strategy of profitable growth as it has done over the past decade”.