Britain's Kantar clinches deal to buy Vista-backed Numerator

© Reuters.

By Pamela Barbaglia, Kate Holton and Paul Sandle

LONDON (Reuters) – British market research firm Kantar said it has clinched a deal to buy U.S. rival Numerator from Vista Equity Partners as it seeks to boost its presence overseas and better compete with the likes of Nielsen in gathering data on consumer behaviour.

The deal, which was first reported by Reuters earlier on Monday and is expected to complete by September, will see Kantar taking full control of Numerator for about $1.5 billion, two sources familiar with the transaction said.

Chicago-based Numerator specialises in providing market intelligence and has been backed by buyout fund Vista since 2017.

The business, which ranks as a leading player in shopper data, relies on a panel of more than 1 million shoppers and has an advanced technology platform to capture real time shopper behaviour.

Kantar, a former unit of media giant WPP (LON:), is well familiar with Numerator’s business model having previously backed InfoScout, a retail-focused market specialist which was sold to Vista-backed Market Track in 2017 and later re-branded Numerator.

Kantar’s new boss Alexis Nasard banks on the deal to gain access to a wider pool of consumers in the United States and defy the challenges posed by industry disrupters, including Dublin-based e-commerce performance analytics platform Profitero.

“The combined dataset will provide insights into the shopping habits of almost five billion consumers globally,” Kantar said in a statement adding the deal was also complementary to its U.S. ad intelligence business.

“The deal will enable Kantar to bring Numerator’s technology to markets such as the UK to further enhance its leadership there,” one of the sources said.

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Bain Capital bought about 60% of Kantar in 2019 in a deal that valued the business at about $4 billion while WPP retained a 40% stake.

WPP is expected to contribute between $125 million and $150 million to the transaction in a bid to retain its 40% stake, another source said.

Kantar recently pocketed $375 million from the sale of its global health division – headquartered in New York – to U.S. healthcare technology company Cerner (NASDAQ:) in December.

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