Blackhawk Network to acquire Grass Roots for £90m

Grass Roots Group has signed a £90m acquisition agreement with Blackhawk Network, a global prepaid and payments company in California.

Richard Bandell, CEO of Grass Roots
Richard Bandell, CEO of Grass Roots

The acquisition, which is costing Blackhawk £90m, will see Grass Roots, parent of Grass Roots Meetings & Events, operate as a subsidiary.  As a result of the deal, the agency is expected to be able to offer new products and capabilities to its current clients, as well as utlising Blackhawk's global network to broaden its international reach.

For Blackhawk, the acquisition is expected to help the brand extend its global footprint in the UK by offering global reward and incentive products to its clients through Grass Roots’ employee and customer engagement solutions. It also allows Blackhawk to tap into the agency’s existing expertise of meeting and events management and add this element to its portfolio.

Matthew Howe and Jonathan Kenny, co-managing directors of Blackhawk's UK-based Europe operations, will lead the European operations of Grass Roots, while Stewart Rigby, managing director of Blackhawk Asia Pacific, will lead the Asia-Pacific operations of Grass Roots.

"We are really excited about the opportunities this partnership brings to Grass Roots," said Richard Bandell, CEO of Grass Roots. "Joining Blackhawk opens up significant growth opportunities for Grass Roots, transforming us into a leading global business and allowing us to inspire more people worldwide. Together, the two companies will have increased scale and scope, and we will bring those benefits to our clients and partners."

"The acquisition of Grass Roots complements the existing client portfolio of Blackhawk's incentives business, and enhances solutions for customers requiring global reward and incentive platforms and products," added Bill Tauscher, executive chairman of Blackhawk. "We will also offer new products and capabilities to Grass Roots’ clients."

Last month Grass Roots reported a turnover rise to £283m for the 2015 financial year, while pre-tax profits dropped slightly to £7.8m, a 2.5% fall from 2014. According to the global financial report, published on Companies House, the UK remained one of the strongest regions, but the APAC region overall was loss-making, leading to the slight drop. 

More:

Grass Roots records 2.5% profit drop on turnover rise

David Taylor appointed as MD for Grass Roots Meetings & Events

President Barry Richards leaves Grass Roots Meetings & Events

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