NielsenIQ and GfK SE (“GfK”), two leaders in global information services, have announced a definitive agreement through which the companies plan to combine, creating new capabilities in the consumer and retail measurement industry. Powered by state-of-the-art cloud technology, the combination will bring together complementary data and analytics assets to provide a comprehensive view of shopper spending through a total store read, enabling clients to anticipate trends and react faster to consumer needs and expectations. The terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
GfK’s leading position in technology and durables across 67 countries, combined with NielsenIQ’s leading position in the measurement of fast-moving consumer goods in 90 countries will allow for expansion within the companies’ traditional client industries as well as new market segments. With a larger technology and operations talent base around the world, the combined company will innovate and bring new products to market even faster and then scale them to a broader set of markets and industries. Both companies firmly believe in the strategic merit this combination holds and are looking to further expand the business both geographically and vertically.
“Over the past year, NielsenIQ has been investing both organically and inorganically in the most comprehensive coverage, advanced technologies and predictive analytics to enable our clients to have a complete understanding of their consumers,” said Jim Peck, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of NielsenIQ. “Combining our market-leading capabilities will allow us to further accelerate innovation that best serves our expanded client base and deliver significant value for all our stakeholders. Together with GfK, we have the opportunity to influence the future of global retail and consumer measurement – one that is fast, nimble and connected.”
Through the combination of NielsenIQ’s cloud based Connect platform and omnichannel measurement technologies and GfK’s recently launched gfknewron platform, the company will become a true analytics leader. Its solutions will provide a harmonized, granular and consistent view of consumer purchasing behavior across channels and categories, allowing for real-time decisions to enhance performance and fuel growth. The two companies will bring together an extensive range of talent and expertise, with a proven record of success in measurement and analytic capabilities.
“GfK has successfully navigated a digital transformation to profitable and sustainable growth over the last years. Joining forces with NielsenIQ is now the logical next step for us and will support the next stage of our company’s development,” said Lars Nordmark, Interim Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of GfK. “The combination with NielsenIQ will enable us to empower our customers to make smarter decisions across their organizations at a truly global scale and accelerate our journey into the next chapter of innovation. This will allow us to tap into significant new growth opportunities.”
With this transaction, Advent will become the majority shareholder of the combined company. Advent acquired NielsenIQ in a transaction that closed in 2021.
"We see tremendous potential to build on the two companies' strong brands and cutting-edge platforms," said Chris Egan, Managing Partner at Advent. “Given the capabilities and resources of the soon-to-be combined entity, we are confident in our ability to build a truly global leader in consumer and retail data. Drawing on our global footprint and operational strength, we aim to further scale the business and advance its position across established and emerging markets.”
Since GfK’s spin-off from NIM in 1984, NIM has been the company’s majority shareholder and will remain one of the key shareholders of the new combined company. Based on the transaction, NIM will be able to further drive and accelerate its development as a leading international research institute.
“GfK and NielsenIQ, two top players in market research, have almost 200 years of combined experience. We see the combination of their complementary strengths as a unique opportunity, creating exciting new business opportunities for both parties. The combination is, thus, in the best interest of their employees, customers and retail partners alike,” said Manfred Scheske, President of NIM, and continued: “As a significant shareholder of the new company, NIM will be able to continue its development as a leading international research institute, fulfill its main purpose, as defined by the association's statutes, and live-up to its founders’ ambitions.”
Alongside NIM, KKR will stay invested in the combined company as a minority shareholder. The global investment firm took GfK private alongside NIM in 2017 to support GfK’s strategic transformation and pave the way for sustainable growth. In close collaboration with the company’s management team, NIM and KKR supported the company in a comprehensive transformation, focusing its portfolio, introducing cutting-edge predictive analytics offerings and accelerating its profitable organic growth.
“GfK is much stronger today than it was five years ago, and the 2021 results are a testament to GfK’s effort and readiness to continue its path to become an integrated data, analytics and consulting firm providing superior service to its clients. We strongly believe that GfK coming together with NielsenIQ is a transformative combination that allows GfK to proceed on its growth and innovation trajectory at an even faster pace”, said Philipp Freise, Partner and Co-Head of European Private Equity at KKR.
The transaction is expected to close later this year or early next year, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Until closing, NielsenIQ and GfK will remain independent companies focused on their current strategies and growth plans.