NEWS19 March 2019

WPP’s Read: ‘There’s a lot of value we can unlock in Kantar’

Media News UK

UK – WPP chief executive Mark Read has said he would have preferred Kantar to remain within WPP ‘emotionally’ but ‘rationally there’s a lot to do’.

Mark Read_crop

The comments came as it was announced that Kantar is removing all of its individual sub-brands, with all businesses to be operated under the single Kantar brand.

The move will mean brands including Kantar Health, Kantar Media, Kantar TNS, Lightspeed and Kantar Consulting – launched only last January as a merger of Kantar Added Value, Kantar Futures, Kantar Vermeer and Kantar Retail – no longer exist.

Speculation over Kantar’s future began when former WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell stepped down from the role in April last year. In October, WPP said its board had approved plans to seek a financial or strategic partner for the business.

Speaking at Advertising Week Europe yesterday, Read said WPP would ideally retain “between 25%-40%” of its stake in Kantar, The Drum reported.

Read said: “WPP should be judged more on what data we use in our work than whether we own it. Once we decided that, we saw the opportunity to turn Kantar into the world’s leading data business.

“There’s a lot of value that we can unlock in Kantar. Maybe emotionally I would have preferred to keep it inside WPP but rationally there’s a lot to do and this is the right way to go about releasing that value.”

WPP chief financial officer Paul Richardson has previously said the size of WPP’s remaining stake in Kantar could range from 20% to 49% depending on the price.