WGSN, the renowned fashion and beauty trends forecasting business, is undergoing a significant transformation as it prepares to be sold to private equity firm Apax. This move is part of the parent company Ascential’s strategy to “manage separation” for its wider portfolio of businesses. The sale will be made to a newly-established company called Wind UK Bidco 3 Limited, formed by funds advised by Apax Partners LLP.

The sale is estimated to be worth up to £700 million, including approximately £61 million of deferred income. Upon completion, the proceeds from Bidco are expected to reach around £572 million. The sale is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of next year, subject to obtaining all necessary approvals.

Despite previous reports suggesting a loss of interest, Apax engaged in exclusive talks for the acquisition last month, highlighting their determination to acquire WGSN. This dedication is evident in Apax’s previous acquisition of Emap, the publishing firm that eventually became Ascential, the current owner of WGSN. Emap had bought WGSN from its founders, Julian Worth and the late Marc Worth, for approximately £140 million in 2005. WGSN was established seven years prior as a pioneer in online trend forecasting when the concept was still novel.

Originally focused exclusively on fashion, WGSN has since expanded its reach into other sectors, including beauty, interiors, food, and consumer tech. This diversification has allowed the company to offer insights and forecasts across multiple industries, catering to a wider range of clients.

The sale to Apax signifies a new chapter for WGSN. As the company transitions into the hands of a private equity firm, there is potential for further growth and development in the future. With Apax’s expertise and resources, WGSN could potentially reach new heights in the field of trend forecasting. It remains to be seen how this acquisition will shape the future of the business.

Useful links:
1. WGSN Official Website
2. Apax Partners Official Website