In the UK, it has been revealed that Doughty Hanson - which owns the Vue cinema chain - is the mystery company interested in buying Aegis’ market research arm Synovate.
Aegis confirmed last month
that it is in talks with Ipsos about the possible sale of its market research arm Synovate. At the time, analysts suggested a price of around £500m would be on the table.
However, at the beginning of this month, The Telegraph reported
that Aegis could be offered up to £600m for Synovate by an unidentified bidder. According to the paper, Wyvern Partners had approached Aegis with details of the potential offer a few weeks before news of the Ipsos talks broke.
Speaking in The Sunday Telegraph yesterday, Wyvern - which is Doughty Hanson’s finance adviser - confirmed that it had actually spent the past 18 months considering buying Synovate on behalf of its client. Wyvern Partners’ co-founder Anthony Gahan (pictured) told the newspaper that he had been ‘looking at Synovate’ in early 2010. Last month, he made a ‘formal approach’ on behalf of what is now known to be Doughty Hanson to Aegis Chairman John Napier and CEO Jerry Buhlmann.
However, Gahan said that Aegis had not engaged with him, having previously confirmed
that its discussions with Ipsos are on an ‘exclusive’ basis.
‘There has been no real desire to engage with us,’ Gahan stated. ‘We do not believe that there has been an exercise to test the market value of Synovate.’
In the article, The Sunday Telegraph said that Aegis is now ‘close’ to selling Synovate to Ipsos for c.£520m. Aegis declined to comment.
In-mid June French-based ad group Publicis and UK marcoms giant WPP both dismissed
speculation that they might be considering their own bids for Aegis’ research division.
Web sites: www.aegisplc.com