NEWS7 July 2023

YouGov to buy GfK’s consumer panel business

Europe FMCG M&A News UK

GERMANY & UK – GfK has agreed to sell its European Consumer Panel business to YouGov for €315m, with the divestment necessary to obtain anti-trust approvals for the merger of GfK with NIQ.

Stephan Shakespeare

GfK’s Consumer Panel Business has panels across 16 European countries, consisting of over 100,000 households. 

The acquisition will extend YouGov’s offering into the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector and bolster its relationships with blue-chip organisations and clients in the US, the firm said in a statement.

YouGov will fund the acquisition through an equity placing of new ordinary shares expected to raise gross proceeds of approximately £55m, with the remainder of the cash consideration financed by a bridge debt facility and existing cash on balance sheet. 

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals. 

It is expected to complete in the second half of 2023.

Following completion of the deal, a transitional services agreement will remain in place for 12 months, with an option to extend by an additional six months on two occasions. Consumer Panel Business management will remain with the business, according to the statement from YouGov.

Stephan Shakespeare, chief executive and non-executive chair designate at YouGov (pictured), said: “We are delighted to be acquiring one of the leaders in European household purchase data and to be welcoming their employees into the YouGov fold. The business’ approach to data collection and their geographic coverage are highly complementary to YouGov and we are fortunate to have been in a position to make this acquisition, which brings exciting future growth opportunities.

“This transaction is important for us strategically, extending our offering further into the under-penetrated FMCG sector, bringing with it long-standing relationships with a blue-chip client base.”

The deal will also offer YouGov the opportunity to combine household data from the Consumer Panel business with its profiling, media consumption and brand data, added Shakespeare.

Earlier this week, GfK and NIQ announced that the European Commission had approved their proposed merger – first announced in the summer of 2022. The clearance decision was conditional on GfK selling the Consumer Panel business to an independent third party.

GfK said the divestment of the Consumer Panel business to YouGov ‘addresses competition concerns by the European Commission, thus paving the way toward completion of the NIQ and GfK combination’.

Lars Nordmark, interim chief executive and chief financial officer at GfK, said: “After careful consideration of all options and following approval from our shareholders, we decided to offer this remedy in order to move forward with the combination of NIQ and GfK. 

“With YouGov, we firmly believe we have found the perfect future owner for GfK CP and a solution in the best interests of all parties involved – especially for our clients and employees.”