Slaughter and May is advising Ascential plc (“Ascential”) on its managed separation, comprising the sale of its digital commerce business (“Digital Commerce”) to Omnicom Group Inc., and the sale of its product design business (“WGSN”) to a newco established by funds advised by Apax Partners LLP, for a combined enterprise value of £1.4 billion and cash proceeds of £1.2 billion. Ascential intends to distribute approximately £850 million of the proceeds to shareholders. Following completion of the sales, Ascential will be composed substantially of its world-leading events business (“Events”). The sales represent the consummation of Ascential’s strategic review, commenced in April 2022 to evaluate the optimal structure for its three distinct businesses (Digital Commerce, WGSN and Events) and to maximise shareholder value.
As both the Digital Commerce and WGSN sales are Class 1 transactions for Ascential, they will be subject to approval by Ascential shareholders and the resolutions will be inter-conditional. The sales are also subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions, including in relation to regulatory matters. The sales are expected to complete by the end of Q1 2024.
Slaughter and May has been working closely with the Ascential legal team, led by General Counsel Kent Dreadon.