WPP’s auction of some or all of research arm Kantar kicks off in April with Goldman Sachs in the auctioneer’s chair, according to Reuters.
Bankers are lining up to to £2.5bn of debt finance for some lucky buyer. Kantar has top line earnings of £370m, which implies a multiple of 6.5. Which looks more realistic than the £3bn plus WPP may still be hoping for.
Key to any deal is what relationship Kantar (bound to be renamed) has with WPP. Acxiom was worth $2bn to Interpublic last year so WPP will want to retain a strong connection with the data business.
WPP CEO Mark Read needs to reduce the company’s uncomfortably high debt pile of around £4bn which, among other things, makes big acquisitions difficult.