March 16, 2015 / 4:18 PM / 4 years ago

WPP submits bid for majority stake in Dunnhumby - source

Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive Officer of WPP, gestures during the session 'The BBC World Debate: A Richer World, but for Whom?' in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos January 23, 2015. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

LONDON (Reuters) - British advertising group WPP (WPP.L) has bid for a majority stake in Dunnhumby, the customer data business put up for sale by Tesco (TSCO.L), a person familiar with the situation said on Monday.

Dunnhumby, which gathers and analyses data from almost 1 billion shoppers globally to help companies create customer loyalty and personalisation programmes, has been put up for sale as part of a drive by Tesco’s new boss Dave Lewis to slash costs and sell assets to mend the group’s finances.

Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, is pursuing the sale of a majority stake, rather than an outright exit or flotation, a separate source told Reuters in February.

That source had said around six or seven parties, including private equity-led bidding groups, had shown a serious interest in the business.

WPP, which has increased its presence in market research and analytics in recent years, declined to comment.

Tesco, which saw its shares rise 4 percent in afternoon trading, also declined to comment.

Lewis is plotting the supermarket’s fightback from years of market share losses, an accounting scandal and debt-ratings downgrades.

As part of that plan, Goldman Sachs (GS.N) was appointed to explore strategic options for Dunnhumby, which analysts value at up to 2 billion pounds ($3 billion).

Analysts said U.S. food retailer Kroger (KR.N) was also a possible suitor for Dunnhumby.

Reporting by Kate Holton and James Davey; Editing by Guy Faulkonbridge and David Holmes

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