With speculation around a potential buyout of WPP’s data and market research arm mounting, another potential suitor Has been thrown into the conversation.
Kantar chief Eric Salama has reportedly been looking for backers to fund the £3.5 billion management buyout of the WPP division, and has recently held discussions with private equity firms and banks.
Having resigned from WPP just weeks ago following an internal investigation into “alleged personal misconduct” against him, Sorrell confirmed a reverse takeover of Derriston Capital with his investment vehicle S4 Capital, which will see him lead the merged entity and potentially become a rival of his old company.
And it appears the rivalry could be ignited with a buyout of Kantar, with one expert tipping the business to be of interest to Sorrell.
“If he’s talking about getting into data then those assets [WPP’s data investment management businesses] would be an obvious buy,” Ian Whittaker, head of European media research at Liberum Capital, told Campaign.
Whittaker added that Accenture and other consultancies would also be keen on buying out Kantar.
WPP’s executive team has said repeatedly that breaking up the group wouldn’t make sense and that it was “too early to speculate about specific asset sales”.
However, Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser told Campaign that investors wouldn’t be too happy if WPP held on to Kantar.