YouGov agrees €280m loan facility to finance takeover

YouGov agrees €280m loan facility to finance takeover

  • The polling firm revealed it had agreed a facility of up to €280m with lenders
  • YouGov intends to buy GfK’s consumer panel arm for a headline £270m price
  • Stephan Shakespeare and Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi co-founded the company

YouGov has agreed a new lending arrangement to help fund an intended acquisition aimed at boosting its European operations.

The polling organisation, known for its close association with British politics, said it had agreed a facility of up to €280million (£243million) with lenders.

It consists of a €240million amortising term loan and a €40million revolving credit facility, which have tenors – the amount of time until a loan is due – of four and three years, respectively.

New deal: Polling organisation YouGov, known for its close association with British politics, said it had agreed a facility of up to €280million with lenders

YouGov said the capital would go towards funding ‘general corporate purposes’ that underpin its long-term strategy and buying the consumer panel arm belonging to market research firm GfK.

‘Alex McIntosh, chief finance officer of the London-based group, said: ‘This new facility will provide additional financing for our proposed acquisition of GfK’s Consumer Panel Business and provide further firepower for investing in our strategic growth plan. 

‘We thank our lenders for their continued support.’

In July, the company announced it was buying the business for a headline price of £270million, partly to extend its presence across Europe’s fast-moving consumer goods sector.

Stephan Shakespeare, a co-founder of YouGov, said at the time the transaction was ‘important for us strategically, extending our offering further into the under-penetrated FMCG sector, bringing with it long-standing relationships with a blue-chip client base’.

A few weeks later, Shakespeare stood down as chief executive 23 years after setting up YouGov with former Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi.

His replacement as CEO is Steve Hatch, who used to be the vice president of operations in Northern Europe for Facebook’s parent company Meta, and a non-executive director at Daily Mirror owner Reach.

Before that, he spent 15 years at advertising giant WPP, where he rose to run the MEC media agency – now known as Wavemaker.

Hatch’s elevation to the role comes amid speculation that YouGov is considering a listing on Wall Street.

Shakespeare told the Financial Times in mid-August that the US was a ‘natural base’ for YouGov given that it spent the most on marketing data and had markets that ‘are better at supporting companies like ours’.

London’s status as a premier financial centre has been shaken by a series of firms deciding to float or move their primary listing to New York.

Plumbing supplier Ferguson, drugmaker Okyo Pharma, and building materials supplier CRH are among the businesses that have recently made the transatlantic switch.

Cambridge-based ARM Holdings also went public on the Nasdaq last month after its majority owner, Softbank, decided against a London listing despite significant lobbying by the UK Government.

YouGov shares were 0.8 per cent, or 6p, higher at £7.56 on early Monday afternoon but have still declined by around a quarter this year.