Aegis offloads its market research arm for £525m

MEDIA giant Aegis yesterday clinched the sale of its Synovate market research business to French peer Ipsos in a deal worth £525m.

Aegis, the world’s fourth biggest ad agency by billings, said it planned to return to shareholders £200m of the sale proceeds via a special dividend.

The sale will put a spotlight on the rest of Aegis, one of the last independent advertising agencies, which has long been seen as a merger target for French group Havas.

Chief executive Jerry Buhlmann said the deal would allow Aegis to step up its pace of acquisitions, on which it could spend up to £500m.

Ipsos said the deal will significantly boost the group’s global capabilities and that as yet unidentified synergies could come from global negotiations with suppliers. It said it expects the acquisition to accelerate growth and improve margins in the medium term. “The acquisition is...creating the third largest global market research company,” Ipsos said in a note.