Grass Roots in Maritz takeover

Grass Roots Group has concluded a deal to take over Maritz’s European operations, which will result in the company having predicted sales of Euro 350m in the next fiscal year. The Tring-based group has bought a controlling stake in the meetings, events and incentive business Maritz Europa, with St Louis headquartered Maritz taking a minority equity stake in Grass Roots. Under the deal UK and German offices will continue to operate under Maritz branding, while Spain and Italy are rebranded as Grass Roots. Maritz’s European research businesses in the UK and Germany are not part of the deal and remain with the US parent. The deal ends months of industry speculation about the fate of Maritz, which has lost several high profile staff members, including former managing director Nick Bender, and business development director Amanda Stranack, in recent months. Bender, who joined Grass Roots in January from Maritz is to rejoin the company as managing director at its UK office in Marlow. Grass Roots chairman David Evans and finance director Nigel King will join Bender, Graham Frazer and Graham Corfield on the Marlow board. More than 2,000 clients will be serviced by the enlarged group. The deal follows on from the January announcement that Grass Roots had bought a controlling share of Latin American incentive and rewards company Bittime. Like the Bittime deal, Grass Roots has funded the Maritz purchase from its own resources and required no borrowings. The deal confirms Grass Roots position as the largest European full service performance improvement agency. David Evans, who in January had denied to C&IT that Grass Roots was interested in purchasing Maritz Europa, said: “This is a proud moment and I am honoured to be able to take the Maritz ME&I interests in Europe into the Grass Roots family of businesses. I have no doubt that the only way to provide genuinely global solutions is to have a real interest in the equity of partners.”

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