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Grass Roots Group to Join Forces with Blackhawk Network
SEPTEMBER 2016 – Grass Roots (Grass Roots Group Holdings Ltd.), a leading employee and customer engagement solutions company, has entered into an agreement to be acquired by Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc., a leading prepaid and payments global company based in California. The acquisition is expected to allow Grass Roots to offer new products and capabilities to its current clients, as well as take advantage of Blackhawk’s global network to broaden Grass Roots’ international reach.
This acquisition is expected to be an opportunity for Blackhawk to extend its global footprint by offering global reward and incentive products to its clients through Grass Roots’ leading employee and customer engagement solutions. This acquisition also adds an important element to Blackhawk’s portfolio by allowing Blackhawk to tap into Grass Roots’ expertise in meetings and events management.
"We are really excited about the opportunities this partnership brings to Grass Roots,” said Richard Bandell, CEO of Grass Roots. “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.”
“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,” said Bill Tauscher, executive chairman of Blackhawk. “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.
Previously an affiliate of WPP, 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.
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About Grass Roots
Passionate about inspiring people, the Grass Roots Group connects brands and people, through services such as Experience and Insight, Motivation, Rewards, Benefits, Promotions and Meetings and Events. Founded in the UK in 1980, the Group has 12 offices throughout the world and has provided services in over 100 countries. Grass Roots Group companies have over 20,000 total clients, including one-third of the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100.
About Blackhawk Network
Blackhawk Network Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: HAWK) is a leading prepaid and payments global company, which supports the programme management and distribution of gift cards, prepaid telecom products and financial service products in retail, digital and incentive channels. Blackhawk’s digital platform supports prepaid across a network of digital distribution partners including retailers, financial service providers, and mobile wallets. For more information, please visit www.blackhawknetwork.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements are indicated by words or phrases such as “guidance,” “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “plans,” “continuing,” “ongoing,” and similar words or phrases and the negative of such words and phrases. Forward-looking statements are based on our current plans and expectations and involve risks and uncertainties which are, in many instances, beyond our control, and which could cause actual results to differ materially from those included in or contemplated or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include, among other things, Blackhawk's ability to successfully integrate the acquired business and products; costs related to the acquisition; the competitive environment in the industry and competitive response to the acquisition; general market and business conditions; and the accounting impact of the acquisition.
Other risks and uncertainties relating to Blackhawk’s business are: our ability to grow adjusted operating revenues and adjusted net income as anticipated, our ability to grow at historic rates or at all, the consequences should we lose one or more of our top distribution partners or fail to attract new distribution partners to our network or if the financial performance of our distribution partners' businesses decline, our reliance on our content providers, the demand for their products and our exclusivity arrangements with them, our reliance on relationships with card issuing banks, the consequences to our future growth if our distribution partners fail to actively and effectively promote our products and services, the ability of our distribution partners to implement EMV compliance within their expected timeline and lift the measures they may have taken prior to such compliance to limit or control their exposure to liability for fraud losses; changes in consumer behaviour away from our distribution partners and our products resulting from limits or controls implemented by our distribution partners during our distribution partners’ transition to EMV compliance; the requirement that we comply with applicable laws and regulations, including increasingly stringent money-laundering rules and regulations, and other risks and uncertainties described in our reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including the risks and uncertainties set forth in Item 1A under the heading Risk Factors in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended January 2, 2016 and other subsequent periodic reports we file with the SEC. We undertake no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect developments or information obtained after the date hereof and disclaim any obligation to do so other than as may be required by law.