Ascential plc has announce the completion of the sale of its product design business, WGSN, to Wind UK Bidco 3 Limited (a newly formed company established by funds advised by Apax Partners). The news confirms the deal, which we reported was going through in January.
As the event organiser announced on 30 October 2023, the Board intends to return to shareholders approximately £850m generated from the sales of the Digital Commerce and WGSN businesses. Options under consideration include a special dividend, a buyback (in line with existing AGM authorities) and a tender process or a combination thereof. An update will be provided in the coming weeks.
Philip Thomas (pictured), the new chief executive of Ascential said: “We are delighted that our colleagues and friends at WGSN can now take an important step under new ownership and embark on the next chapter of their growth. The sale of WGSN completes the execution of the Strategic Review announced in 2023 and highlights our ongoing commitment to deliver value for shareholders. Ascential is now a focussed events-led business, with two of the world’s leading event brands supporting our customers to lead their industries and achieve growth. We are more excited than ever about our prospects and confident in our credentials as a high quality, independent UK-listed business.”