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Ascential moves to sell WGSN, proceeds to go to shareholders

By Rachel Douglass


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Online shopping. Image: Unsplash

Analytics and e-commerce optimisation company Ascential has announced its intention to sell trend forecasting platform WGSN as part of the ongoing evaluation of its organisational and capital structure.

The review was initiated by the group’s board of directors in April 2022, as it looked to deliver on a strategy that would maximise shareholder value through various strategic options.

As part of its conclusion, Ascential said it had outlined a number of distinctions that benefited from significant investments and supported growth in sizable markets.

The businesses within its portfolio, which also includes Coloro, OneSpace and Intrepid, were particularly notable for their distinct investment propositions, diverse operating models, differing organisational requirements and geographical concentrations.

For this reason, the company announced the proposal to undertake a series of independent transactions to address the distinctions, and therefore better position each business to pursue future growth ambitions.

Increase shareholder value and create optimal organisational structure

The process for the sale of WGSN comes under said proposal, as well as the decision to pursue a separation of its worldwide digital commerce assets into an independent publicly traded company listed in the US.

As part of the deal, the board stated that shareholders will see a return of a “significant proportion” on WGSN’s sale proceeds, while also providing growth capital for all the group’s businesses.

Additionally, it hopes the decision will better enable Digital Commerce to attract and retain talent and position a well-capitalised Events business.

The announcement came simultaneous to Ascential’s trading update for FY22, in which it reported a double-digit revenue growth across all four of its segments.

Its total revenue for the year is expected to come to at least 520 million pounds, while it adjusted its EBITDA to be at least 118 million pounds, up from 89 million pounds in 2021.

Meanwhile, its net debt is estimated to be approximately 218 million pounds.