YouGov buys Swiss research agency, LINK Marketing for £21.7mn

YouGov buys Swiss research agency, LINK Marketing for £21.7mn

LONDON, UK: YouGov Plc announced the acquisition of the leading Swiss market and social research agency, LINK Marketing Services AG based in Zurich.

YouGov Plc is the international market research and data analytics group. The total consideration for the acquisition is CHF 26.4 million (£21.7 million) payable upfront in cash. The consideration will be funded through internal cash reserves.

For the twelve months ended 31 December 2020, LINK reported revenues of CHF 23.0 million and adjusted2 profit before tax of CHF 2.0 million.

LINK Marketing was founded in 1981 in Lucerne, Switzerland and is a well-regarded player in the region with a focus on driving innovation in its market and social research capabilities. In 1984, it was the first Swiss market research company to internally develop and use software for CATI surveys and started the use of online surveys in 1998.

The company has longstanding relationships with leading Swiss companies and global blue-chip clients in the financial services, FMCG, retail industries and government sector.

LINK Marketing employs around 100 staff and is divided into two main divisions: a full-service market research business that services clients using its high-quality online panel and a social research business that delivers opinion and behavioural data largely for the public sector, including the Swiss Federal Statistical Office, public institutions and universities.

YouGov has seen good traction in Mainland Europe following the expansion of its panel into several new European countries and a shift in its approach to target large-scale, regional tracking projects.

Switzerland is a key market for several of our European clients and the addition of the LINK business will reinforce YouGov’s position in Mainland Europe. Through this acquisition, we can expand the use of our panels, technology and product suite to create additional value for our clients and shareholders.

The existing LINK management team will continue to run the acquired business which will continue to operate under its name for the foreseeable future.

Stephan Shakespeare, CEO and co-founder of YouGov, commented: “LINK is a great fit for YouGov and we are thrilled to bring it into the YouGov fold as we continue to invest for growth in line with our strategy.

Like us, they have a highly engaged online panel – the heart of the company providing their gold standard data – and they are similarly renowned for world class social and political research. Switzerland is home to a large number of multinational companies and LINK’s data is best-in-class in the market. Through this acquisition, we can better serve clients both within Switzerland and around the world as we roll out our world class data products in the country.”

Benedikt Lüthi, CEO of LINK, commented: “We are excited to join the YouGov family, and while it opens up a world of possibilities for our clients, we will continue to offer them what they have come to expect from us over the years – the best data drawn from the best panel which provides the most accurate answers.

Our two companies share a strong cultural affinity – we are both leaders in innovative online research and analytics – and we share the same vision. As a result of this deal, we can now offer our clients much more. From the get-go LINK customers will gain access to YouGov’s global research network, panel and suite of innovative insights’ products that enable them to track their own and their competitors’ brands globally.”

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