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WPP rumored to be considering a sale of its Kantar stake

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Marketing giant WPP may sell its 40% stake in ad campaign analytics and consulting firm Kantar, according to multiple media reports.

Kantar develops cloud applications that big brands use to track the effectiveness of their ad campaigns. It also provides market research services, with a focus on helping companies map out consumer buying behavior, and offers related consulting packages.

In 2019, WPP sold 60% of Kantar to Bain Capital, an investment firm that spun out of management consultancy Bain & Co. approximately 40 years ago. The deal valued Kantar at $4 billion, which means Bain likely paid around $2.4 billion for the 60% stake.

Reports in Reuters and other publications indicate that now WPP is looking to offload its remaining 40% stake. One report suggests the deal could value Kantar near the $4 billion it was worth in 2019, while another rumor suggests the ad analytics and consulting firm could fetch a valuation as high as £7 billion.

WPP has hired a financial advisory to help it plan the deal. The sale could reportedly take several forms.

The ad giant may sell its 40% stake in Kantar to Bain Capital. Alternatively, it may take Kantar public. The latter option is somewhat complicated by Bain Capital’s reported plan to sell off one of Kantar’s main business units, which would decrease its value as a publicly traded firm.

The sale process is in an early phase and it’s not yet clear if a deal will happen.