WPP set to kick off Kantar auction

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.

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