DoCoMo launches $300 million bid for market research firm Intage

Deal Handshake

Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo is splashing the cash in an effort to squeeze more value from its loyalty programme.

The telco has launched a public tender offer for Intage Holdings, a market research and consultancy firm based in Chiyoda City, Tokyo. As a minimum, DoCoMo hopes to purchase 15.4 million shares, equivalent to a 40% stake. The upper boundary is set at 19.6 million shares, which would give it a 51% stake.

Price-wise, DoCoMo’s offer is worth up to JPY45.09 billion ($305 million) for 51%, based on Intage’s share price on Thursday.

In a stock exchange filing, DoCoMo said investors holding a combined 19.9% of Intage’s shares have already agreed to take up its offer. DoCoMo said Intage’s board has also voted in favour of the deal.

DoCoMo and Intage have actually been working together since 2012, when they established a joint venture that would combine the latter’s expertise in data gathering and analysis with consumer data collected via DoCoMo’s loyalty programme, ‘d Point Club’.

Like most schemes of its kind, members earn points that can be spent in lieu of cash at various online and brick-and-mortar stores. Of course, it also enables DoCoMo to build detailed profiles of members which can then be sold to third parties that want to send them targeted offers. d Point Club is open to non-DoCoMo customers, and as of June it boasted 96 million members, making it the largest in Japan.

The joint venture with Intage, called DoCoMo Insight Marketing (DIM), offers data insights to manufacturers, retailers and other service providers to support their targeted marketing activities.

Now, DoCoMo wants to take its relationship with Intage to the next level.

Explaining the rationale behind its offer, DoCoMo said the utilisation of data is becoming increasingly important not only to the marketing industry, but to also help with identifying and addressing societal issues.

“It is an area that can grow significantly as a business and as a contribution to society,” DoCoMo said in a statement. “In order to achieve this, we have concluded that it is necessary for Intage, whose vision is to approach business from the perspective of consumers and providing value, and DIM, which have collaborated through a conventional framework, to go beyond mere cooperation and establish a direct capital relationship, thus allowing the two companies to integrate their business operations.”

DoCoMo believes that full integration will maximise the value of the data it holds.

“In particular, leveraging the data as its starting point, DoCoMo aims to provide ID-based and integrated marketing solutions that span research, communication, sales promotion, and repeat business,” the telco said. “This approach will closely address the marketing challenges of manufacturers, retailers and other enterprises, enhancing their marketing capabilities and enriching the lives of consumers.”


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