Exclusive-Britain’s Kantar nears $1.5 billion deal to buy Vista-backed Numerator, sources say

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LONDON (Reuters) -British market research firm Kantar is in final talks to buy U.S. rival Numerator from Vista Equity Partners in a deal worth about $1.5 billion, two sources with knowledge of the discussions told Reuters.

The deal, expected to be announced imminently, will see Kantar taking full control of the U.S. firm which specialises in providing market intelligence and has been backed by buyout fund Vista since 2017, the sources said

Kantar declined to comment. Vista was not immediately available for comment.

Kantar, a former unit of media giant WPP (LON:WPP), will use the deal to boost its global presence – particularly in the U.S. consumer panel section of the market – and better compete with rivals including Nielsen and Information Resources Inc (IRI) which teamed up as part of a joint venture deal in 2009.

Numerator will help Kantar gain access to a wider pool of consumers in the United States where it collects purchasing data from more than a million contributors.

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.

In the event of a cash and stock transaction WPP would have to invest along with Bain to avoid being diluted and keep its 40% equity holding in Kantar, one of the sources said.

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