Paragon swoops for Celerity in triple Howard Hunt deal

paragon nParagon Group has confirmed the acquisition of three Howard Hunt Group businesses, Celerity Information Services, ORM and Graft Services, as well as the customer base and order book of print business Howard Hunt (City), in a multimillion-pound deal.
Earlier this week, Decision Marketing reported that Paragon was one of these potential suitors for all or part of the group, which was facing an uncertain future due to financial pressure from long-term lender Santander.
The purchase of the three firms, with total turnover in excess of £30m, is designed to further strengthen the Paragon’s digital communications and identification expertise, whilst bolstering the group’s operations in Europe and the US.
Set up in 2002, Celerity Information Services has three sites, in Dartford London, Boston in the US and Madrid in Spain, currently employing 87 people.
ORM, which was launched nearly 20 years ago has more than 100 staff operating from bases in the UK, Poland and Ukraine. Specialising in digital strategy, technology platforms, data, customer experience, design, brand and marketing communications, the company is a digital partner to leading brands globally.
Paragon says it plans to make ORM a centre of excellence for these activities, enhancing its abilities to delivery technology-driven insights for multi-channel customer communications.
Kent-based Graft, founded in 2013, delivers a marketing buying service that includes a broad range of disciplines including big data, multichannel marketing, postal optimisation, direct sourcing and supply-chain management. It has experienced substantial levels of growth serving both corporate and not-for-profit clients.
In the past three years, Paragon has nearly tripled in size, employing close to 6,500 employees and recording a pro forma turnover in excess of €850m.
Paragon Customer Communications UK chief executive Jeremy Walters said: “We are delighted to welcome Celerity Information Services, ORM and Graft Services to the Paragon Group, adding their expertise to our full-service range of bespoke market-leading communications solutions.
“The acquisitions underline Paragon’s ongoing commitment to being the market-leading service provider for customer communications. By further strengthening our unrivalled position in digital communications and identification services across the company, we will continue to bolster our reputation as one of the most trusted and reliable service providers in the UK transactional and regulatory communications market.”

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