Is WPP About To Sell Its Stake In Kantar?

WPP is considering selling its 40% stake in media measurement and marketing research firm Kantar according to unnamed sources in multiple reports. (Bloomberg had it first).  

The holding company owned all of Kantar up until late 2019 when it sold the majority of the firm to Bain Capital Private Equity. WPP collected net proceeds of about $3.1 billion on the transaction. 

At the time, WPP said the sale was part of a broader “streamlining effort,” which is still ongoing five years later. 



Word of the possible divestiture comes just a couple of weeks before WPP’s “Investor Day” event and no doubt the firm could use some good news to deliver to investors. Reuters reported that Kantar is currently valued as high as $8 billion including debt.  

2023 was a tough year for many holding companies, including WPP which cut its growth outlook twice during the year, most recently saying it expects 2023 growth of between 0.5% and 1% growth. At the start of last year it was expecting growth of 3% to 5%. 

Investors haven’t been thrilled. The company’s stock is down about 15% over the past year although over the past five days it has seen a boost of about 5%. Investors reacted positively to today's speculation as well as to a UK report late last week that Bain was also preparing to sell its majority stake in the company.  

A WPP rep said the firm had no comment on the rumors about a possible Kantar sale.  

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