WPP AUNZ has entered into an agreement to sell 100 percent of its interests in the Kantar businesses in Australia and New Zealand.
The deal includes all Kantar agencies in Australia and New Zealand; Colmar Brunton, Lightspeed and The Online Research Unit.
Initially, WPP plc announced it had entered an agreement to sell a 60 percent stake in the global Kantar business. Subsequently, a committee of independent WPP AUNZ board directors determined that to participate in the global transaction is an attractive strategic and financial outcome for the company and shareholders.
“As a result, WPP AUNZ has now agreed to sell 100 percent of its interests in the Kantar businesses in Australia and New Zealand as part of the global transaction,’ said Robert Mactier, chairman of WPP AUNZ.
“The independent directors of WPP AUNZ believe the sale will further simplify and reposition WPP AUNZ for growth. Importantly, it creates balance sheet flexibility by reducing debt to below target leverage and provides WPP AUNZ with capacity to return funds to shareholders through dividends or capital management.
“In addition, it provides increased capacity to take advantage of opportunities in line with the strategic plan to be developed by incoming CEO Jens Monsees, who commences with WPP AUNZ on 1 October 2019.”
John Steedman, Interim CEO of WPP AUNZ, added the sale proceeds will enable greater investment in the existing portfolio of companies to accelerate their growth potential and invest in new offerings and technologies that better serve customer needs.
“We expect to retain a close relationship with Kantar and work together, as we do now, to create better integrated solutions for our clients, particularly as our major shareholder, WPP plc, will continue to own 40 percent of the global Kantar business.”
Completion of the transaction is expected to be in early calendar year 2020 and is subject to approval by non-WPP plc associated shareholders of WPP AUNZ and completion of the WPP plc global deal.