Wind UK Bidco 3 Limited is a newly-formed company.
The proposed sale is for a combined enterprise value of £1.4 billion and cash proceeds of £1.2 billion. Following completion, the company says it intends to distribute approximately £850 million to Ascential shareholders.
According to Ascential, highlights of the deal include:
- Agreement to sell Digital Commerce to Omnicom for a total enterprise value of $900 million (approximately £741 million).
- Agreement to sell WGSN to Bidco for a total enterprise value of up to £700 million.
Following completion of the deal, the Ascential Group will be composed substantially of Ascential’s Events business, which, says the company, is positioned for continued success as a high quality, independent UK-listed business.
The deal is expected to complete by the end of Q1 2024.
On completion of the sale, Duncan Painter, currently Chief Executive Officer of Ascential, will join Omnicom and take on a new role as CEO of Flywheel Digital, a newly created practice area of Omnicom, which will operate the Digital Commerce business. Accordingly, Duncan Painter will step down from the Board of Ascential on completion of the sale.
As previously announced, Philip Thomas, currently Chief Executive Officer of Ascential Intelligence and Events, will be appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Ascential and will join the Board of Ascential on completion.
Scott Forbes and Mandy Gradden, currently Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of Ascential, respectively, will continue in their roles.
Independent non-executive directors Joanne Harris and Charles Song will step down from the Board of Ascential on completion of the sale. All other Ascential independent non-executive directors will continue in their roles.
Scott Forbes, Chairman, Ascential plc, said: “The Board firmly believes that the proposed sales of Digital Commerce and WGSN represent excellent value for shareholders, including the return of a significant portion of the combined proceeds. Furthermore, these actions are compelling in that they will enable us to achieve the objectives of the strategic review, addressing the distinct investment propositions of Ascential’s three businesses, while also better positioning each business to achieve their growth ambitions.”
Duncan Painter, CEO, Ascential plc, said: “We are delighted that we have found excellent owners for both Digital Commerce and WGSN that will allow each business to flourish and take the next steps to pursue their own individual ambitions. Omnicom’s and Digital Commerce’s complementary technology and data platforms, together with their strong client relationships will be instrumental in accelerating the realisation of Digital Commerce’s strategy, and WGSN is also well set for its next chapter of growth under new ownership. Ascential’s continuing business with its world-leading Events brands remains well- positioned to succeed as a high quality, independent UK-listed business.”
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