Bain Capital Buys Majority Stake in WPP Research Firm Kantar

Investment values the data consultancy at $4 billion

Bain Capital buys majority stake in Kantar company logos.
After months of speculation and talks, WPP has shed 60% of research firm Kantar.
Kantar, Bain Capital

Private investment firm Bain Capital has acquired 60% of Kantar, a data and insight consultancy owned by WPP.

WPP confirmed it plans to sell a majority stake in Kantar in October of last year. In June, Bain Capital emerged as the exclusive bidder for the research firm, valued at $4 billion.

According to WPP, the move “creates a strong partnership” between the two to “accelerate the development of Kantar.” Following the sale, in which WPP is expected to gain $3.1 billion after taxes and continued investment, the holding company will use proceeds to reduce debt and return $1.2 billion to shareholders.

The deal is part of WPP CEO Mark Read’s plan to streamline the holding company and its offerings.

“Kantar is a great business, and we look forward to working with Bain Capital to unlock its full potential,” said Read in a statement. “As a strategic partner and shareholder in Kantar, WPP will continue to benefit from its future growth while our clients continue to benefit from its services and capabilities.”

The deal comes months after Kantar underwent both executive changes and a consolidation of its divisions under the Kantar brand name. In April, the company named Reed Cundiff, who previously spent 14 years at Microsoft, as chief executive of the North American region.

“Our new ownership structure presents a great opportunity for Kantar, our employees and our clients,” said Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar, in a statement. “In Bain Capital we have a partner who shares our ambition, brings relevant expertise and—with WPP—can help us accelerate our growth and impact for clients. We are focused on delivering ‘human understanding at scale and speed’ and the ‘best of Kantar’ more consistently.”

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