YouGov to acquire GfK’s consumer panel business to move into FMCG sector

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YouGov plc, an international market research and data analytics group, has announced the €315 million acquisition of the consumer panel business of GfK SE (GfK CP), bolstering its position in the data analytics sector.

GfK’s consumer panel business, an established leader in consumer purchase data, comprises over 100,000 households across 16 European countries. The acquisition enables YouGov to extend its operations into the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector, a prominent user of market research. This expansion also provides an opportunity to enhance the group’s offerings to its US clients, paving the way for YouGov’s growth in the American market.

Adding GfK’s consumer panel business to its portfolio allows YouGov to improve its customer value proposition, incorporating highly engaged panellists from Europe, complementary capabilities, and longstanding relationships with blue-chip clients. This acquisition aims to accelerate the strategic vision outlined at YouGov’s Capital Markets Day on May 17, 2023.

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Stephan Shakespeare — YouGov CEO said: “This transaction is important for us strategically, extending our offering further into the under-penetrated FMCG sector, bringing with it long-standing relationships with a blue-chip client base.

“We are excited by the future potential of this combination, as it provides us with the opportunity to super-charge our customer value proposition by combining one of the richest data sets on household purchases with YouGov’s existing media consumption and brand data.

“We believe this transaction will support YouGov’s stated ambition of becoming the world’s #1 market research company.”

The funding for this acquisition will be managed through an equity placement of new ordinary shares expected to raise approximately £55 million, with the remaining cash financed by a fully committed bridge debt facility and existing funds on YouGov’s balance sheet. The deal’s completion, expected in the second half of 2023, awaits customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals and works’ council consultations in certain jurisdictions.

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Strategically, this acquisition extends YouGov’s offerings into the FMCG sector, where it has had limited penetration until now. The addition of over 100,000 engaged panellists and rich data assets from GfK’s consumer panel business presents the opportunity for a holistic 360-degree view of the consumer, connecting purchase data with YouGov’s profiling, media consumption, and brand data.

This acquisition also enables YouGov to enhance its US offering by bringing the consumer panel business offering to the US, using YouGov Plus panels, adding expertise in building SKU data product, and barcode catalogue. Financially, the acquisition contributes a resilient profile to the Group, expecting mid-teens EPS accretion in the first full year of ownership. Furthermore, potential cost synergies of approximately £4 million are identified, with further potential during integration and revenue synergies from cross-sell, upsell, and US expansion.

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The sale of GfK CP addresses competition concerns by the European Commission, aiding the completion of the NIQ and GfK combination. GfK CP holds leading positions in its operating markets, aligning with YouGov’s data-oriented approach and highly-engaged panels. The deal signals a strategic move for YouGov, a leading international online research data and analytics technology group based in the United Kingdom.

Lars Nordmark — GfK Interim CEO and CFO said: “After careful consideration of all options and following approval from our shareholders, we decided to offer this remedy in order to move forward with the combination of NIQ and GfK.

“With YouGov, we firmly believe we have found the perfect future owner for GfK CP and a solution in the best interests of all parties involved – especially for our clients and employees.”

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