HH Global has reached agreement to buy US marketing services group InnerWorkings, ending a long held ambition to establish a strong position in the US and causing nerves among US printers to start jangling.
The move comes just months after HH Global received a $100 million equity investment from Blackstone. Now it has agreed a $3.00 a share deal for the business, which had been trading at $1.32 a share until the announcement of the deal. Earlier this year, shares had peaked at $5.81 each before Covid’s impact was felt.
“After exploring a range of financing and strategic alternatives, and implementing meaningful cost saving measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re confident this combination represents the best path forward for our shareholders and InnerWorkings,” says Rich Stoddart, CEO of InnerWorkings.
“In addition to delivering an immediate cash premium to our shareholders, the combination will create a company with a stronger balance sheet and will enhance our ability to accelerate our transformation and serve our client base.”
US printers will be nervous of finding themselves under pressure on price and subject to the structured purchasing systems that HH Gobal has established. The UK company will be confident that it will be able to extract margin from the US company.
Robert McMillan, HH Global CEO, adds: “It significantly accelerates our ability to execute on the next phase of our strategy by broadening our service offering and expanding our global reach. Not only do our two companies have complementary offerings, capabilities and geographic operations, but we also share a deep commitment to quality, innovation and operational excellence.”
Officially the rationale includes the synergy between a company which is strong in North America and one where the focus has been EMEA and Apac. It is also a combination of a “world class marketing engineering and an executive firm that is well positioned to service global clients seeking, innovative, end to end marketing solutions that lower costs and improve brand consistency, visibility, sustainability and speed to market”.
The acquisition has been supported by Blackstone Tactical Opportunities.