Under the deal, which pends final approval, Chapel Hill, N.C.-based Yankelovich -- the 50-year old firm known for the Yankelovich Monitor, a study of U.S. consumer value and lifestyle trends -- will join forces with European consumer trends and futures research and consultancy Henley Centre HeadlightVision, a unit of WPP's Kantar Group.
Sian Davies, CEO, Henley Centre, will oversee the new integrated company, while J. Walker Smith will continue to serve as president of Yankelovich. The merged unit will have a staff of nearly 150 researchers and consultants in five offices -- Chapel Hill and New York domestically, along with London and Delhi and Mumbai in India; plans to expand into China are under way.
"We are seeing major shifts in consumer attitudes and lifestyles as BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India and China] and other fast-growing economies expand, as health and well being and environmental concerns gather pace globally, and as consumers use new media in innovative ways," Mr. Davies said in a statement. Combining the capabilities of Yankelovich and Henley Centre will help the firms offer their consumer trends research and consultancy services to clients "on a truly global basis," he said.