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WPP to return $1.2 billion to investors via repurchase after Kantar deal

WPP to return $1.2 billion to investors via repurchase after Kantar deal
FILE PHOTO: Branding signage is seen for WPP Group, the largest global advertising and public relations agency at their offices in London, Britain, July 17, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville   -   Copyright  TOBY MELVILLE(Reuters)
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(Reuters) – WPP <WPP.L> said on Thursday it had completed the sale of 60% of data analytics business Kantar to private equity firm Bain Capital and would return about $1.2 billion to shareholders via a share repurchase programme.

WPP said the amount returned to investors would be about 40% of the $3.1 billion it earned in net proceeds from the sale and would be returned in two tranches, planned to be completed by March 2020.

The company has worked to restructure following several profit warnings and the abrupt departure of its founder and former chief executive Martin Sorrell over alleged misconduct, which he denies. The proceeds from the Kantar stake sale will be used to cut debt and rebuild.

(This story corrects share repurchase amount to $1.2 billion from $1.4 billion in headline and first paragraph

(Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru; Editing by Giles Elgood)

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