GLOBAL – Ipsos is to acquire four global divisions of GfK’s custom research business in a cash transaction worth €105m.

Didier Truchot

Ipsos has agreed to buy GfK’s customer experience, experience innovation, health, and public affairs divisions.

The acquisition will see almost 1,000 GfK staff joining Ipsos in 25 countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and US.

The estimated 2018 revenue of the acquired businesses is over €200m, according to Ipsos, with the EMEA region contributing around 55% of revenues.

The deal excludes consumer panels and GfK’s Spain and Portugal operations.

The customer experience division incorporates GfK research services related to customer satisfaction and loyalty, employee satisfaction and mystery shopping services.

The experience innovation arm encompasses innovation research including front end/early stage innovation; concept, product and pack testing and volumetrics; car clinics; GfK’s NORM business, which focuses on VR technology in store and product contexts; and user experience research, design and consulting.

The deal also includes GfK’s health division, which covers research for pharmaceutical, biotech, medical and healthcare technology companies, and public affairs, which includes GfK’s Knowledge Networks panels.

Didier Truchot, founder, chairman and chief executive of Ipsos (pictured), said: "The deal has been driven by our relentless focus on providing the best possible service to our clients and our ambition to become stronger in the areas of customer experience and mystery shopping, innovation and user experience, healthcare, and public affairs.

“I look forward to welcoming the GfK Research teams to Ipsos and together strengthening our skills in these four key business areas, reinforcing a global powerhouse in market research, with the best talents in the industry.”

The move aids Ipsos’ Total Understanding growth plan project, Truchot added.

Peter Feld, chief executive officer of GfK, said: “The divestment of our custom research business is the next important step in transforming GfK into a truly technology enabled data analytics provider with a clear client-centric focus on our core assets in our key industries and markets. We are very happy that Ipsos decided to acquire our custom research business and with that will become a great future home for our custom research employees.”

GfK’s services will now concentrate on the digitisation and innovation of prescriptive analytics in its core sectors of technology and durables. The company will focus on market insights using point-of-sale data to track purchasing; consumer insights; marketing effectiveness; sales effectiveness and media measurement. 

It also maintains its consumer panel, through which it tracks consumer purchases, opinions and internet usage. 

The transaction is expected to close around 30 September, subject to mandatory clearances. According to Ipsos, the acquired teams will be brought together with the existing Ipsos specialisations during the autumn period, with the intention of completing the integration process “rapidly” after the transaction is completed.