Blackhawk Network has inked a definitive agreement to acquire Grass Roots), a provider of employee and customer engagement solutions. The closing of the transaction is subject to completion of certain filings with and approval by Germany’s Bundeskartellamt.
Grass Roots is headquartered in the county of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, with offices in Europe, the Americas and Asia. The acquisition will broaden the global capabilities of Blackhawk’s incentives and engagement business. Kingdom-based provider of employee engagement and customer engagement services will expand Blackhawk’s growing incentives business portfolio
In 2014, Blackhawk launched Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, a leading global provider of customized incentive and engagement solutions for consumer promotions, employee recognition and rewards, and indirect sales channels. BES was formed following Blackhawk’s acquisitions of incentives and rewards providers Parago, InteliSpend, CardLab and Incentec.
In addition, since June of 2015, Blackhawk has made several additional acquisitions that have further expanded its incentives business, including:
• Achievers, a leading provider of employee recognition and rewards solutions designed to help companies increase employee engagement and drive business performance. The Grass Roots offering will complement the Achievers enterprise software-as-a-service solution;
• Giftcards.com and OmniCard, a provider of digital and physical prepaid gift card solutions and customized prepaid incentive and reward solutions;
• And Extrameasures, a prepaid consumer promotions and incentives company.
Grass Roots will operate as a subsidiary of Blackhawk. Matthew Howe and Jonathan Kenny, co-managing directors of Blackhawk’s UK-based Europe operations, will lead the European operations of Grass Roots. Stewart Rigby, managing director, Blackhawk Asia Pacific, will lead the Asia-Pacific operations of Grass Roots.
Blackhawk is acquiring the Grass Roots Group for approximately £90 million (US$118 million assuming the current pound to dollar exchange rate) in cash, using a combination of cash-on-hand and borrowings under an existing revolving credit facility. The transaction is subject to approval by the FCO which is expected within the next 30 to 120 days. The acquired Grass Roots Group entities are forecasting Adjusted EBITDA of approximately £11 million for full calendar year 2016.
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