WPP has completed its agreement, announced earlier this year, to sell roughly 60% of its research arm Kantar to Bain Capital Private Equity.
The deal was completed earlier than expected — the parties had estimated that the transaction would close early next year. And the companies did say that contracts on a small portion of Kantar businesses will not be finalized until sometime in the first half of 2020.
The sale is part of a three-year streamlining and turnaround plan announced by WPP last December.
The firm has sold off a number of companies in its portfolio, and with the Kantar deal now finalized CEO Mark Read said its asset divestiture program is “substantially complete.”
Net proceeds are expected to be approximately $3.1 billion, about $1.9 billion of which will be used to reduce the company’s debt. The remaining $1.2 billion will be used for a share repurchase program.
In addition to strengthening the company’s balance sheet, Read said in a statement that the deal “is a major step in simplifying and focusing WPP,” adding that “the partnership with Bain Capital means that we will participate in the future growth of Kantar as well as allowing our clients to continue to benefit from Kantar’s services.”