WPP has completed the sale of 60% of its research and analytics business Kantar to Bain Capital, in a deal that is expected to return $1.2bn to WPP investors through a share repurchase programme.
“The completion of the Kantar transaction, earlier than anticipated, achieves the objective we set out in December 2018 to strengthen our balance sheet, and substantially completes our disposal programme," said WPP CEO Mark Read on Thursday.
"It is a major step in simplifying and focusing WPP, and we intend to return around 8% of our share capital to shareholders through a buyback programme."
Read said the partnership with Bain Capital means that WPP will participate in the future growth of Kantar as well as allowing our clients to continue to benefit from Kantar’s services.
WPP said the return to shareholders will be executed via a share repurchase programme, which it expects to commence shortly, with an initial tranche of approximately £250m, of the total £950m, planned to be completed by March 2020.