WPP Acquires Yankelovich

NEW YORK Yankelovich Holdings, a U.S. consumer trends and lifestyle research business, will merge with WPP Group’s Henley Centre HeadlightVision, the companies said today.

Henley Centre is a consumer trends and futures research and consultancy business and a unit of Kantar, WPP’s information, insight and consultancy division.

Sian Davies, CEO of Henley Centre, will assume leadership of the integrated business. J. Walker Smith remains president of Yankelovich, and Steve Bodhaine and Kevin Brown continue as president of the Segmentation Co. and evp of sales, respectively.

WPP plans to build a global insight offering focusing on the changing habits of consumers and the ability to act on these changes. Yankelovich will gain access to Henley Centre’s global trends intelligence network and qualitative research expertise.

From Yankelovich, Henley Centre gains its U.S. branding, client research and expertise in trends research and segmentation analysis. This includes Yankelovich Monitor, the company’s study of U.S. consumer value and lifestyle trends.

The combined business will encompass 145 researchers and consultants in Chapel Hill, N.C., New York, and Delhi and Mumbai, India. (Yankelovich is based in Chapel Hill.) There are plans to expand into China. Industries of focus include packaged goods, financial services, media and telecommunications, travel and leisure, the public sector, health and multicultural marketing.

“Merging Henley Centre with Yankelovich creates an unprecedented opportunity to offer consumer trends research and consultancy services on a truly global basis,” said Davies. “We are seeing major shifts in consumer attitudes and lifestyles as BRIC and other fast-growing economies expand, as health and well-being and environmental concerns gather pace globally, and as consumers use new media in innovative ways.”

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.