Apax, GfK circle Aegis’s Synovate

Private equity group Apax Partners and market research firm GfK are believed to be circling Synovate, the market research arm of Britain’s Aegis.

Aegis Group Plc could decide to sell Synovate after a structural review, or the unit could be spun off if Aegis merges with French rival Havas SA.

Sources say that Apax has been assessing Synovate for weeks while Germany’s GfK AG had held informal discussions with advisers. The two had jointly tried to acquire Taylor Nelson Sofres last year, eventually losing out to WPP Plc, but may not join forces again.