Grass Roots acquired by Blackhawk Network for £90m

Grass Roots Group, including its events division, has been bought by California-based Blackhawk Network, a global prepaid and payments company.

Richard Bandell, CEO of Grass Roots
Richard Bandell, CEO of Grass Roots

Blackhawk's £90m acquisition will enable the company to extend its global footprint in the UK by offering global reward and incentive products to its clients through Grass Roots’ employee and customer engagement solutions. It will also allow the company to use Grass Roots’ expertise of meeting and events management and add this area to its portfolio.

Grass Roots will operate as a subsidiary of Blackhawk. Matthew Howe and Jonathan Kenny, co-managing directors of Blackhawk’s UK-based Europe operations, will lead the European operations of Grass Roots. Stewart Rigby, managing director, Blackhawk Asia Pacific, will lead the Asia-Pacific operations of Grass Roots.

The current Grass Roots shareholders comprise WPP plc and current and former management, all of whom are selling their shares in this transaction.

Richard Bandell, CEO of Grass Roots, said: "Joining Blackhawk opens up significant growth opportunities for Grass Roots, transforming us into a leading global business and allowing us to inspire more people worldwide. Together, the two companies will have increased scale and scope, and we will bring those benefits to our clients and partners."

Bill Tauscher, executive chairman of Blackhawk, added: "The acquisition of Grass Roots complements the existing client portfolio of Blackhawk's incentives business, and enhances solutions for customers requiring global reward and incentive platforms and products. We will also offer new products and capabilities to Grass Roots’ clients."

"The Grass Roots team has extensive industry experience and a proven track record of success in the consumer and employee engagement markets. We are thrilled to welcome them and over 2,000 managed service clients to the Blackhawk family," added Talbott Roche, CEO and president of Blackhawk.

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