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04/08/2022

IRI and NPD Group to Merge

Move combines CPG, general merchandise, foodservice and food consumption data capabilities
Bridget Goldschmidt
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The merger of IRI and NPD Group will create a global technology, analytics and data provider offering clients a view of total retail purchasing and consumption trends.

Market research firms Information Resources Inc. (IRI) and The NPD Group have signed a definitive agreement to merge. The combination of the companies will create a global technology, analytics and data provider offering clients a view of total retail purchasing and consumption trends, powered by advanced predictive analytics on the IRI Liquid Data technology platform. The deal, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the second half of 2022. Terms of the agreement weren’t disclosed.

By uniting complementary data assets across a wide range of industries on a sophisticated data visualization platform, the merged business will enable brands and retailers to collaborate, better service their customers, respond to trends and leverage stronger insights to spur growth. NPD provides market information and advisory services for general merchandise, including softlines, technology and retail, in addition to foodservice and food consumption. This will be combined with IRI’s market measurement, supply chain and media optimization solutions; technology platform; retail relationships; and data assets for the CPG industry, encompassing the grocery, convenience and over-the-counter health care categories.

Global private-equity firm Hellman & Friedman (H&F), with offices in San Francisco, New York and London, will acquire a majority stake in IRI, and merge the company with H&F portfolio company NPD. H&F will lead an ownership group consisting of existing long-term IRI investors Vestar Capital Partners and New Mountain Capital, both of which will retain significant investments in the combined company.

“This combination is a win for IRI, NPD, our clients and our teams as we bring together two industry leaders to offer a total store view,” said Kirk Perry, president and CEO of Chicago-based IRI. “We look forward to joining forces with the NPD team, which brings expertise in parts of the store that IRI does not cover today. As the global retail landscape continues to evolve, IRI and NPD will have innovative technology, analytics, data resources, talent and geographic reach to best support the growth of the world’s leading brands and retailers. Our combined organization will be well positioned for continued innovation and success, backed by the expertise and resources of our new majority investor, Hellman & Friedman, alongside our long-term partners at Vestar Capital and New Mountain Capital.”

“We are excited about the prospect of combining our companies to give clients the tools and information they need to succeed amid changing consumer behavior,” added Karyn Schoenbart, CEO of Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD. “Both NPD and IRI share similar client-focused, innovative and collaborative cultures, making this combination a natural fit.”

Following the transaction’s, H&F, Vestar and NMC will each have representation on the combined company’s board of directors. Perry will become CEO of the combined company and serve on the board, while NPD Executive Chairman Tod Johnson will be chairman of the combined company’s board, and Schoenbart will also join the board. Jeff Ansell, currently chairman of IRI’s board, will serve on the combined company’s board as well. Johnson and Schoenbart will continue to lead NPD until the deal closes and will remain investors in the combined company.

Evercore, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, and Guggenheim Securities LLC are acting as financial advisors to IRI, and Kirkland & Ellis LLP is legal counsel. Jefferies Group LLC is acting as exclusive financial advisor to NPD and H&F, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is legal counsel. Kramer Levin is legal counsel to Johnson and Schoenbart.

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