Ascential, a UK-based information and analytics company, announced on Monday that it will sell its consumer research and digital commerce divisions for a total enterprise value of 1.4 billion pounds ($1.70 billion) in order to concentrate on its events business.
Following the completion of the transactions, Ascential, a company listed in London, announced its intention to distribute about 850 million pounds to its shareholders.
It stated that the U.S.-listed Omnicom Group (OMC.N) would purchase the digital commerce business for a total enterprise value of $900 million.
For a maximum enterprise value of 700 million pounds, the consumer research unit, WGSN, would be sold to Wind UK Bidco 3 Ltd, a business founded by funds backed by private equity firm Apax Partners.
Ascential announced that Duncan Painter, its CEO, would be joining Omnicom to assume a new position as CEO of Flywheel Digital, a recently established division of the American corporation that will run the digital commerce division.
The London-based company had already announced that Philip Thomas, who leads its intelligence and events division now, will take over as the group’s next CEO.
The January break-up plan, which included separation and a U.S. listing of its digital commerce businesses, includes the divestiture of WGSN.
According to persons familiar with the matter, three significant bidders for the consumer data division of UK business media giant Ascential (ASCL.L) withdrew from the auction earlier in July, casting doubt on efforts to split up the $1.29 billion ($1 billion) company.
Listed in London As part of a break-up strategy that was revealed in January, Ascential planned to sell the company, known as WGSN, and started corresponding with prospective buyers in April. As part of the strategy, Ascential would also list its Digital Commerce company in New York and split it off.
According to three people familiar with the situation who spoke to Reuters, Apax Partners, one of the largest private equity firms in Europe, was the most recent to withdraw from the process. It joined BC Partners and the American media conglomerate Hearst Communications in withdrawing its offer for the company, which offers data that helps marketers understand consumer trends.