Summary:

More than two years after UK ad holding company Aegis first considered selling off its marketing and research unit Synovate, the company is…

Aegis Media

More than two years after UK ad holding company Aegis first considered selling off its marketing and research unit Synovate, the company is in deal talks with France’s Ipsos, Mediapost reports.

Aegis confirmed the deal talk in a brief statement on rumors that a sale was being explored now, adding, “There can be no certainty that any agreement will be reached.”

Estimates on Synovate’s worth run as high as $820 million (£500 million). While Aegis hoped to put the speculation to rest with its announcement, now there is now word that selling the unit could inspire a takeover or merger with Havas, which share a common largest shareholder, French financier Vincent Bollore, Mediapost notes.

Synovate offices in 64 countries and employs 5,900 staff. That extensive reach is what makes the company so attractive to rival researchers and ad companies. Analytics has been one of the hottest areas of media M&A for the past two years and shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, back in December, Synovate expanded its international presence further after acquiring a majority stake in Russia’s Comcon.

There are other potential suitors beyond Ipsos, Including possible bids from Gfk and Nielsen, while larger ad holding companies Publicis and WPP, which have flirted with purchase offers for Aegis years ago, could also make a play for Synovate, the Daily Mail reported.

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