St Ives plc Acquires Solstice Consulting LLC
St Ives plc ("St Ives" or the "Group"), the international marketing services group, announces that it has acquired Solstice Consulting LLC ("Solstice"), a Chicago-based digital consultancy specialising in mobile-first digital product design and engineering services.
Established in 2001 and trading under the name Solstice Mobile, the business employs approximately 200 staff across three offices in Chicago, New York and Buenos Aires. The company has a strong client base across Fortune 1000 businesses in the US, with particular strength in the financial services, manufacturing and distribution sectors.
The acquisition represents a continuation of St Ives' strategy to further enhance its wider digital expertise and provides the Group with deeper mobile, customer engagement and loyalty capabilities. It also supports St Ives' target of increasing its international footprint and signals the Group's intent to be seen as a credible contender to the leading digital agency groups and consultancies, both in the UK and overseas.
In the financial year ended 31 December 2014, Solstice generated adjusted EBITDA* of £2.7 million on revenue of £16.5 million; gross assets were £5.1 million (*before items of a one-off nature).
St Ives has agreed to acquire Solstice, on a cash and debt free basis, for £24.7 million, to be satisfied by approximately £20.0 million in cash and approximately 2.6 million St Ives shares. Further consideration of up to £25.3 million may be payable (to be satisfied 80% in cash and 20% in shares) dependent on incremental profit performance for the years ending 31 December 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The acquisition will be earnings enhancing, on an underlying basis, in the current financial year.
Solstice will operate as a subsidiary of St Ives and will continue to be managed from its current location by its existing management team, which includes J Schwan, the vendor.
Matt Armitage, Chief Executive of St Ives, commented:"This acquisition further strengthens St Ives' reputation and capabilities in digital, and significantly extends these into mobile. Strategically, the deal supports the growth of the Group's marketing services division, while expanding our presence and capabilities in the Americas."
Commenting on the acquisition, J Schwan, CEO of Solstice Mobile, said: "We are very excited to have found the perfect home for Solstice. As mobile continues to affirm its role as consumers' and employees' primary digital channel, 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."