29th Sep 2023 22:00
(Alliance News) - Ascential PLC on Friday confirmed press reports that it is in exclusive discussions with Apax Partners in relation to the sale of WGSN.
The business-to-business media and events company said there can be no certainty that any binding transaction will be entered into and that a further announcement will be made in due course as appropriate.
Sky News reported on Thursday that talks were at an advanced stage, with an agreement expected to be reached within a fortnight.
The price that Apax is expected to pay for the business is unclear, although market insiders said it was likely to be substantially below the GBP700 million mooted earlier this year, the report said.
Along with other bidders for WGSN, which provides consumer trends data to blue-chip clients, Apax had appeared to lose interest in the process several months ago, Sky suggested.
Apax was previously the owner of Emap, which through a series of corporate transactions ultimately became Ascential.
Ascential wants to sell WGSN and list its digital commerce business in the US, leaving its events operation as a standalone company.
On September 22, Ascential said it was looking at "strategic actions to maximise shareholder value and position each business within the portfolio for long-term success are well advanced and a market update is expected before the end of the year."
Shares in Ascential rose 6.6% to 210.80 pence on Friday.
By Jeremy Cutler, Alliance News reporter
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