Telus International has entered into an agreement to acquire American tech company WillowTree, which develops digital products like native mobile applications and unified web interfaces, for $1.2 billion USD.
“WillowTree will enhance … TELUS’ own ongoing digital transformation and support key product development across our business.”
-Darren Entwistle, Telus
The transaction, which is expected to close in January 2023, involves $210 million of assumed debt. As part of the deal, WillowTree’s majority stakeholder Insignia Capital Group will sell its stake in the company, after initially investing in 2018.
Based in Charlottesville, Virginia, WillowTree’s more than 1,000 digital strategists, designers, engineers, and project managers work with brands on initiatives to deliver digital products. The startup operates 13 global studios located across the United States, Canada, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, Poland, and Romania.
WillowTree’s clients include Fortune 5000 companies across a variety of industries, such as telecommunications, healthcare, and technology. Since its inception in 2008, WillowTree has worked with the likes of Fox, CBC, PepsiCo, Manulife, and Marriott.
Darren Entwistle, president and CEO of Telus, called WillowTree’s acquisition a strategic next step in building Telus International into a “global asset of consequence.” He said that WillowTree brings key talent and diversity to Telus, and further augments the latter’s digital consulting and software development capabilities. WillowTree is also expected to accelerate Telus’ own ongoing digital transformation and support product development across Telus’ business, particularly listing health, agriculture, and consumer goods.
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Entwistle added that WillowTree will also enable Telus’ international team to bolster its client diversification, adding new marquee customers and amplifying cross-selling competencies.
Telus operates in a number of spaces, with telecommunications being its bread and butter. However, it also has touchpoints in areas like human resources and healthtech, where the company completed a number of its investments and acquisitions in Canada.
Many of Telus Health’s virtual care offerings were developed through its previous acquisitions of healthtech companies, such as Montréal-based EQ Care, Toronto-based Akira Health, and Québec’s ZRx Prescriber, a web-based prescription technology firm.
In March, Telus’ health division acquired Toronto-based healthtech startup Sprout Wellness Solutions, which uses machine learning cognitive behavioural science to drive engagement, loyalty, and overall health for users by measuring and rewarding healthy behaviour. Most recently, Telus acquired HR tech company LifeWorks for $2.3 billion CAD.
Featured image from WillowTree’s LinkedIn page.