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Ex-Daily Mail chief is Ascential to buyout firm's WGSN bid

Ex-Daily Mail chief is Ascential to buyout firm's WGSN bid

Paul Zwillenberg, who stepped down as CEO of Daily Mail & General Trust last year, is working with BC Partners on its interest in Ascential's consumer data unit.
A former chief executive of the Daily Mail’s parent company has been enlisted to advise a private equity bidder for the consumer data provider WGSN.

Sky News has learnt that Paul Zwillenberg, who stepped down as CEO of Daily Mail & General Trust last autumn, is working with the buyout firm on its interest in the business, which is owned by the FTSE-250 media group Ascential.

Mr Zwillenberg is working alongside Elizabeth Deeming, a former executive at Stylus Media Group and News Corporation, on the deal.

City sources said Ascential had asked for initial offers for WGSN, which supplies data on fashion trends to the industry, this week.

The business is understood to be valued at more than £700m, with Apax Partners, another buyout firm, among the rival bidders to BC Partners.

Neither Mr Zwillenberg nor Ms Deeming is expected to have an ongoing role in the WGSN business if BC's bid is successful, according to people close to the situation.

Nevertheless, his involvement as an adviser is intriguing given his prominent role in steering the Daily Mail's publisher through its delisting from the London stock market in 2021.

Under Mr Zwillenberg, who ran DMGT for six years, it diversified into a range of digital ventures including the online car-buying platform Cazoo.

During his tenure, the company generated eye-catching returns to shareholders, and he remains an adviser to it.

BC Partners declined to comment, while Mr Zwillenberg could not be reached for comment.

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