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Telus completes WillowTree acquisition in $1.2B CX deal
Telus acquired the developer of customer experience products, including mobile apps and unified web interfaces, and strengthened its position in the custom CX and UI market.
CX technology and services provider Telus International on Tuesday completed its $1.2 billion acquisition of WillowTree, a developer and provider of front-end CX mobile and unified web interfaces.
The purchase, which Telus initiated in October, marks the latest in a string of acquisitions of CX and user interface vendors that have positioned the Vancouver-based vendor as a power in the custom CX and UI market.
"Telus is absolutely a player and isn't one to make frivolous acquisitions," said Liz Miller, an analyst at Constellation Research. "They have been laser focused on improving experience delivery, and this sets up Telus to be a one-stop experience shop."
WillowTree, based in Charlottesville, Va., has 13 production studios in the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Poland and Romania.
The vendor employs about 1,000 digital strategists, designers, engineers and project managers. It has built more than 700 native mobile apps, websites and other customer-facing products for large organizations including Fox, CBC, PepsiCo and Marriott, among others, according to the vendor.
Telus' competitors include iMerit Technology Services, Appen, LXT and Capita. Telus International is a subsidiary of Telus Corp.
The company has acquired 16 vendors over the last decade, most recently employee engagement vendor LifeWorks for $2.3 billion in June. It bought automation software vendor Blacksmith Applications for $275 million.
Roots in telecom
Liz MillerAnalyst, Constellation Research
With a market cap of $5.2 billion, Telus started out in 1990 as a telecommunications provider formed by the government of Alberta, Canada. It became the second largest telecom company in Canada before diversifying, spinning out subsidiaries and, in recent years, completing a wave of acquisitions by Telus International in the CX and user interface design market.
"With WillowTree, Telus gets not only the professionals but also their expertise and skill and the solutions people to build those digital products," Miller said. "These folks are thinking about things like apps and web interfaces."
Telus set the acquisition price at a total enterprise value of $1.2 billion. That includes $210 million of assumed debt, of which $125 million was to be settled in Telus subordinate voting shares and $160 million was to be reinvested by eligible management team vendors. The remainder is to be paid on closing, according to the original acquisition terms.