Telus International to acquire WillowTree for $1.2B
Deal expected to close in January
Charlottesville-based WillowTree Inc., recently recognized by Adweek for being one of the fastest-growing agencies in the nation, has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Canadian tech company Telus International Inc. for $1.225 billion, Telus announced Thursday.
The acquisition is expected to close in January and is subject to regulatory approvals.
Under the agreement, Telus International will acquire WillowTree for a total enterprise value of $1.225 billion, which includes $210 million of assumed debt, of which $125 million will be settled in Telus subordinate voting shares. Approximately $160 million will be reinvested by certain eligible management team members and settled subject to certain performance-based criteria, and the remainder will be paid in cash upon closing, according to the news release from Telus.
As part of the transaction, majority stakeholder Insignia Capital Group will sell its stake in WillowTree after initially investing in the company in 2018.
Founded in 2008, WillowTree is a software company with roots in mobile app design and development. It has 13 global studios in the U.S., Brazil, Canada, Portugal, Spain, Poland and Romania and more than 1,000 digital strategists, designers, engineers and project managers.
“We are excited to share today’s news alongside Telus International, announcing that we will unify our teams and missions to design, build and deliver premium, disruptive and human-centered outcomes for some of the most admired brands in the world,” said WillowTree CEO Tobias Dengel in a statement.
WillowTree works with brands including Fox, CBC, PepsiCo, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Marriott and others. Its 2021 revenue total was $140 million.
Telus is a communications technology company with $17 billion in annual revenue and operates in 28 countries.
“Since Telus International’s inception in 2005, our company has grown, evolved and expanded our global team and capabilities by organically building, selectively partnering and strategically acquiring, which has positioned us to consistently capitalize on market opportunities as the pace of demand for digital solutions grows,” Telus International President and CEO Jeff Puritt said. “Today marks the next step in our company’s journey, and I look forward to working alongside the talented members of the WillowTree team to jointly raise the bar for ourselves to better envision, create and implement high-impact, technology-powered brand connections that fuel customer loyalty and establish and maintain industry market leadership for our clients.”