Gannett to acquire digital marketing software company WordStream
Gannett Co., Inc. has entered into an agreement to acquire WordStream, Inc., a provider of cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions for local and regional businesses and agencies to optimize their digital marketing services campaigns. The purchase price is $130 million in cash, net of cash acquired, plus up to an aggregate $20 million earnout payable in 2019 and 2020 based on achieving certain revenue targets. The transaction builds upon Gannett's existing data-driven digital marketing services, ReachLocal and SweetIQ.
"This acquisition marks another critical milestone in Gannett's digital transformation, enhancing our ability to support businesses and agencies in our local markets with the intelligent, data-driven marketing solutions they need to drive growth," said Robert Dickey, president and chief executive officer of Gannett. "WordStream's technology, extensive data and analytics capabilities together with an experienced executive team will bring tremendous value to Gannett's expanding digital marketing services business."
In the first year, WordStream is forecasted to contribute approximately $55 million in digital marketing services revenue and approximately $16 million of Adjusted EBITDA. Gannett anticipates the transaction will be accretive in the first full year of operations and funded from borrowings under the company's revolver. The acquisition is expected to close in the second quarter after the expiration or earlier termination of the waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.
WordStream helps thousands of businesses to harness the power of Google, Facebook and Bing by leveraging its discovery and recommendation technologies, intelligent campaign optimization and online training programs in its cloud-based SaaS solutions. These Do-It-Yourself (DIY) solutions provide businesses and agencies the ability to manage and optimize performance and results on paid search and social advertising campaigns. WordStream is a proven innovator and delivers a world-class customer experience. Through WordStream, ReachLocal and SweetIQ, Gannett will now be able to provide the full spectrum of digital marketing services from DIY to managed service to any local or regional business or agency. WordStream will continue to be headquartered in Boston, Mass.
"The market for digital marketing services in the U.S. is over $90 billion and consists of both large and small clients. The addition of WordStream's best-in-class DIY SaaS solutions significantly enhances our capabilities and expands our addressable market," said Sharon Rowlands, president of USA TODAY NETWORK Marketing Solutions and chief executive officer of ReachLocal. "WordStream enables us to provide a full range of digital marketing solutions to Gannett's large local client base and grow our digital share of wallet."
"WordStream is very excited about the opportunity this acquisition provides our customers and employees," said Howard Kogan, chief executive officer at WordStream. "We see tremendous opportunity to leverage our companies' combined data, analytics and marketing technologies to enhance the capabilities that WordStream brings to the DIY market, thereby accelerating our ability to drive further success and growth for our customers."
Jefferies LLC acted as exclusive financial adviser and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP acted as legal adviser to Gannett in connection with this transaction. Houlihan Lokey acted as exclusive financial adviser and Gesmer Updegrove acted as legal adviser to WordStream in connection with this transaction.