CEO of Kantar Group Eric R. Salama is said to be in talks with potential backers for a possible US$4.8 billion buyout of the agency. According to multiple media reports on The Times, Reuters and even on NASDAC, Salama has been in discussions with "banks and private equity firms" since Sir Martin Sorrell stepped down as WPP's CEO earlier this month.
In a statement to Marketing, WPP's spokesperson said chairman Roberto Quarta and co-COOs Mark Read and Andrew Scott are leading the business and reviewing the group's strategy.
" They will focus on the optimum shape of the Group to create growth and shareholder value and will make their recommendations to the Board in due course. It is too early to speculate about specific asset sales. In the meantime, it has been made clear that they don't believe breaking up the group makes sense," the spokesperson added.
Sorrell's exit, which followed the conclusion of an investigation into an allegation of personal misconduct against him, has prompted speculation that the network will eventually break up. In an internal memo shortly after Sorrell's departure, Read said that speculation about WPP breaking up does not make sense, multiple media reports stated. He added that the network needs to "get closer together, not further part", especially in today's world where clients require faster, more agile and integrated solutions.
(Read also: The new WPP: Asia leads on the post-Sorrell era)
Earlier this year, WPP merged Kantar Added Value, Kantar Futures, Kantar Vermeer and Kantar Retail, to form Kantar Consulting. The new entity functions as a specialist sales and marketing consultancy which aims to boost growth for brand owners and retailers. Kantar also appointed Nitin Nishandar in March to the newly-created role of chief commercial officer of its Insights division – comprising Kantar TNS and Kantar Millward Brown. His role covers Southeast Asia, North Asia and the Pacific.
Altogether, Kantar has 30,00 employees in 100 countries, including Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Among the list of brands under the group are Kantar Consulting, Kantar Health, Kantar Millward Brown, Kantar TNS and Kantar Media.