KKR Weighs Sale of Consumer Confidence Tracker GfK
(Bloomberg) -- KKR & Co. is considering a sale of market research provider GfK in a record year of buying and selling by private equity firms in Germany, according to people familiar with the matter.
The buyout firm is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. as it considers options for the company, which is known for its suite of consumer confidence indexes, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information.
Nuremberg-based GfK provides data and analytics on customer behaviors to the consumer and media industries. Founded in 1934, the company has more than 10,000 clients globally and tracks over 180 million products, according to its website. Its indexes are used by traders and market watchers seeking insight into the consumer climate in Europe’s largest economy.
KKR bought GfK in 2017 in a roughly 1.6 billion-euro ($1.8 billion) take-private deal led by Philipp Freise, who now serves at the firm’s co-head of European private equity.
While deliberations are advanced, there’s no certainty KKR will decide to proceed with a sale, the people said. A representative for KKR declined to comment.
KKR has made a number of high-profile investments in Germany including television network ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE. It also owns publishing house Axel Springer, which was in the news recently when its popular tabloid Bild Zeitung fired its top editor for alleged misconduct.
This year, KKR made an attempt to buy German online pet supply company Zooplus AG, which was ultimately sold to rivals EQT AB and Hellman & Friedman.
KKR has been one of the most prolific private equity buyers more broadly during the Covid-19 pandemic, both in terms of deal number and value, and is working on a takeover of Telecom Italia SpA in what would be Europe’s largest-ever leveraged buyout. The pace of its acquisitions means KKR needs to start exiting investments to help meet required return targets.
Germany has become a hot bed of private equity activity this year and a sale of GfK could attract other buyout firms, according to the people familiar with the matter. Private equity firms have been involved in $92 billion of deals involving German targets this year, an annual record, Bloomberg data show.
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