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US – Analytics firm Information Resources Inc (IRI) and market information and advisory services firm The NPD Group have agreed to merge.

Global private equity firm H&F will acquire majority stake in IRI and merge IRI with holding company H&F NPD following the deal.

The merger will create a combined global technology, analytics and data provider focused on retail buying and consumer trends and predictive analytics.

The agreement, subject to closing conditions, is expected to close in the second half of 2022. Terms of the merger were not disclosed.

H&F will lead an ownership group made up of long-lived assets IRI investors Vestar Capital Partners and New Mountain Capital (NMC), both of which will retain significant investments in the combined company.

The three companies – H&F, Vestar and NMC – will be represented on the board of directors of the combined company, with IRI Chairman Kirk Perry becomes CEO.

NPD executive chairman Tod Johnson will serve as chairman of the combined company’s board, and Karyn SchönbartCEO of NPD, and Jeff Anselpresident of IRIwill also sit on the new company’s board of directors.

Johnson and Schönbart will continue to lead NPD until closing and will remain an investor in the combined company.

Perry said: “We look forward to partnering with the NPD team, who bring their expertise to the parts of the store that IRI does not cover today.

“As the global retail landscape continues to evolve, IRI and NPD will have the innovative technology, analytics, data resources, talent and geographic reach to best support the growth of leading global brands and retailers.

Schönbart added, “We are excited about the prospect of combining our companies to give customers the tools and information they need to succeed in the face of changing consumer behavior.

“The NDP and IRI share similar customer-focused, innovative and collaborative cultures, making this combination a natural fit.