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Accelerating growth in one of the world’s leading consumer trend forecasters – Mark Sykes explores the Apax Funds’ investment in WGSN



Mark Sykes

Principal, Apax

Apax completed its acquisition of WGSN, the consumer trend forecasting business, in February 2024.

Mark Sykes at Apax explores the rationale behind the deal, and how Apax will partner with the management team of the newly independent business to fuel growth.


What is WGSN?


WGSN is a leading data business focused on trend forecasting; the company works with many of the world’s leading brands to forecast consumer trends and help super-charge their futures. While the company’s heritage is in fashion, they have already expanded successfully into several other consumer focused sectors such as beauty, interiors, food & drink and consumer tech. With operations all over the world, WGSN is well placed to support multinational brands and they already work with many Fortune 500 companies.


Why is this an Apax deal?


Firstly, we have extensive experience partnering with businesses in the information and data space. This includes previous Apax Fund investments like sports-data specialist Genius Sports or workforce screening solutions provider Accurate Background.

Secondly, we have a lot of experience doing carveouts, an area which our Operational Excellence Practice has focused a lot on over the past decade. Carveouts are complex and resource intensive transactions but when we are able to build a new standalone business by carving out a business unit from a larger organisation like Ascential, we think we can unlock a hidden gem.

Finally, the investment in WGSN fits squarely with the Apax Funds’ investment strategy – an opportunity to invest in what we believe is a high-quality business with lots of potential, operating in an attractive part of the market, and where there are multiple levers of value creation available to accelerate growth.


What now? How do you envisage growing the business?


As a standalone business, we think there is an opportunity to reposition WGSN and enhance its product offering whilst strengthening its current offer to customers. We also see a lot of potential to pursue accretive M&A, both to grow the product portfolio as well as reach new customers.

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