Google to buy Tesco’s customer analytics company?
After the disastrous year that was 2014 for Tesco, when the retailer reported an annual loss of £6.4bn (€8.9bn), new chief executive, Dave Lewis, has been looking at every option as he tries to turn the business around.
In the aftermath of Tesco’s annual loss, the biggest in its near 100 year history, Lewis announced that he would be reviewing all costs in the business in a bid to clean up the balance sheet and reduce debts of more than £21.7bn.
The group quickly sold off its Blinkbox business, an online streaming service for movies, music and books, before it also offloaded Tesco Broadband.
At the same time, Lewis announced that he was appointing advisers to consider the options for selling Tesco’s customer analytics business, Dunnhumby.
In April 2015, Tesco cleared the way for the sale of Dunnhumby with up to 40 possible suitors, including private equity-led consortiums, showing an interest in the business. However, it is now believed that the US tech giant Google is on the verge of making a serious bid for the analytics company.
A longlist of 10 parties has been drawn up by Tesco, all of which will be invited to make a bid for Dunnhumby by the end of July.
Google is reported to be on this longlist and is in talks with British private equity group, Permira, about making a combined bid for Dunnhumby. Analysts estimate the business is worth up to £2bn (€2.8bn).
Tesco acquired the Dunnhumby business in 2004 and it has been hugely successful for it, gathering and analysing data from almost 1bn shoppers around the world. The data is generated from Tesco's Clubcard loyalty scheme and is hugely valuable.
Major food and drinks companies like Coca-Cola, Unilever and Nestle, are all willing to pay Tesco for access to the data and the consumer insight and shopping habits it provides. In the UK alone, there are a staggering 56 million Clubcards in circulation.