St Ives Group has completed its first overseas acquisition by buying Chicago-based consultancy Solstice Mobile, a mobile-first digital product design and engineering firm, in a deal worth a potential £50m.
The acquisition, first reported by DecisionMarketing last week, was on a cash and debt free basis for £24.7m. A further £25.3m in cash and shares could be payable depending on performance. It is a continuation of St Ives’ strategy to further enhance its digital expertise, and will provide the group with deeper mobile customer engagement and loyalty capabilities.
The deal also supports St Ives’ target of increasing its international footprint and signals its intent to be seen as a credible contender to leading global digital agency groups and consultancies.
Founded in 2001, Solstice advises Fortune 1000 organisations on the use of emerging technologies that optimise engagements with their employees, customers and partners. With offices in Chicago, New York and Buenos Aires, Solstice has experienced rapid growth in recent years, positioning it as one of the largest privately held, mobile-first digital consultancies in the US.
The acquisition also gives Solstice a platform to extend its operations internationally, while providing a North American foundation for the expansion of the St Ives Group’s digital capabilities.
Solstice Mobile will continue to be managed from its current locations by its existing management team.
St Ives Group chief executive Matt Armitage commented: “This acquisition further strengthens St Ives’ reputation and capabilities in digital and firmly extends our digital capabilities into mobile. Strategically, the deal supports the growth of the Group’s marketing services division, whilst expanding our presence and capabilities in the Americas.”
Solstice Mobile chief executive J Schwan added: “We are very excited to have found the perfect home for Solstice. As mobile continues to affirm its role as the primary digital channel for consumers and employees, we are thrilled to have a platform to expand our services on a global level. Most importantly, St Ives shares our core values of using company culture as a competitive advantage.”
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