WPP Said to Bid for Tesco's Dunnhumby Customer Data Unit

Stake Would Help Agency Holding Company Expand Data, Analytics Businesses

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A happy shopper depicted on Dunnhumby's website
A happy shopper depicted on Dunnhumby's website
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WPP, the world's biggest advertising company, has submitted a bid for a majority stake in Tesco's Dunnhumby customer data unit, as it expands its data and analytics businesses, a person familiar with the matter said.

The person asked not to be named as the process isn't public. Spokesmen for WPP and Tesco declined to comment.

A deal would give WPP access to Dunnhumby's information on almost 1 billion consumers worldwide, and to analysis tools that help companies set prices, choose products and target promotions. Dunnhumby's clients include Procter & Gamble, General Mills and Coca-Cola. WPP last month also bought a stake in researcher ComScore.

Tesco is asking for 2 billion pounds ($3 billion) for the business that developed its clubcard loyalty program and has attracted interest from Warburg Pincus, Carlyle Group and TPG, people with knowledge of the talks said last month.

Tesco's new Chief Executive Officer Dave Lewis is selling assets, closing stores and cutting prices to help revive the U.K. grocer. Mr. Lewis had appointed Goldman Sachs Group to explore options for Dunnhumby, which included a sale or initial public offering. The company also sold its movie-streaming service Blinkbox to TalkTalk Telecom Group.

The Sunday Telegraph reported WPP's bid for a majority stake in Dunnhumby earlier. Tesco plans to keep a minority stake, the newspaper said.

~ Bloomberg News ~