Telus International to Acquire WillowTree for $1.2 Billion

Telus International, the IT services-focused sister company of one of Canada’s most dominant telecommunications companies, on Thursday announced a definitive agreement to acquire WillowTree, a company that provides tailored, full-service digital products, for a whopping $1.225 billion USD.

WillowTree is a Charlottesville, Virginia-based IT company that was founded in 2008. The company currently operates 13 studios across the globe, and it mainly deals in creating end-user experiences for clients — from native mobile applications to unified web interfaces.

Telus International is a subsidiary of Telus Corporation, the umbrella entity that also owns a telecommunications company of the same name that delivers cellular, TV, and internet to millions of Canadians.

“We are excited to announce a strategic next step in our ambition to continue building TELUS International – an important and differentiated growth driver for TELUS – into a global asset of consequence, while significantly enhancing the end-to-end digital experiences of our customers around the world,” said Darren Entwistle, Telus International Chairman and President and CEO of Telus Corporation.

“The acquisition of WillowTree brings key tech talent and diversity to TELUS International’s portfolio of next-generation solutions, and further augments its digital consulting and innovative client-centric software development capabilities. Furthermore, WillowTree will enhance TELUS International’s ability to accelerate TELUS’ own ongoing digital transformation and support key product development across our business, particularly within health and agriculture and consumer goods.

At least Telus isn’t going the Rogers route and acquiring its third-largest competitor. Telus’s bid for WillowTree includes $210 million in assumed debt, $125 million of which will be settled in subordinate voting shares of TELUS International subordinate voting shares.

In addition, about $160 million will be reinvested by select eligible management team members and settled subject to certain performance-based criteria. The rest of the $1.225 billion will be paid in cash upon closing the deal.

“We are excited to share today’s news alongside TELUS International, announcing that we will unify our teams and missions to design, build and deliver premium, disruptive and human-centered outcomes for some of the most admired brands in the world,” said WillowTree CEO Tobias Dengel.

Telus and WillowTree expect the transaction to close in January 2023, pending regulatory approval and closing conditions.