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YouGov in talks with investors about possible MBO

LONDON - YouGov has been in talks with private equity investors about a possible management buyout, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.

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The news comes in the wake of a 50% fall in YouGov's share price, following a profit warning.

According to The Telegraph, private equity sources told it that a meeting took place between YouGov executives and potential investors, who believe that the firm is currently undervalued at £32m and could be worth about £120m.

The paper said that it is understood that YouGov management have not yet appointed financial advisors as talks have not moved beyond preliminary stages.

Sources close to the company, the report said, confirmed approaches were made by private equity investors and that conversations about a possible MBO had taken place, but that they were no longer continuing.

Earlier this month, the nine-year old company put out a trading statement admitting that profits for the six months ending January 31 would be "significantly below market expectations" and that new business in the UK was much weaker than anticipated.

The warning brought YouGov's share price tumbling from 71p to 35p in a single day, while the value of the firm has fallen from £88m to £29m in 2009.

Nadhim Zahawi, chief executive of YouGov, said at the time: "Online market research will continue to grow as a proportion of research spend and we believe that YouGov is uniquely positioned to meet the demand for accurate, high-quality real-time research.

"We see the recession as further disrupting this industry, which gives us an opportunity to build the leading market research company of tomorrow. We are committed to that vision."

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