Williams Lea Tag sale confirmed

By Jo Francis, Thursday 24 August 2017

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Advent International has confirmed that it is to become the new owner of Williams Lea Tag.

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Williams Lea Tag: sale should complete by Q4

The private equity group announced today (24 August) that it was acquiring the business process outsourcing and marketing communications business from current owner Deutsche Post DHL Group, for an undisclosed sum.

Advent had emerged as the front runner to buy Williams Lea over the past week.

In a statement, managing director Andy Dawson said that Advent planned to invest in the business: "We see great further growth potential in Williams Lea Tag on a global scale.  Advent will support the company through targeted investment in people, technology, and systems and to strengthen its customer proposition and help its clients to realise the true potential of their brands.

“Advent’s expertise in executing complex carve-outs combined with our deep sector experience will ensure Williams Lea Tag’s transition to an independent company is smooth and will put it on a solid foundation from which it can grow and prosper.”

The operations and assets of Williams Lea Tag are expected to transfer to Advent by Q4 this year.

Advent and Deutsche Post DHL Group have agreed to “work in partnership to execute the separation in a way that will ensure continuity and quality of service to all customers of Williams Lea Tag”.

Deutsche Post DHL Group acquired Williams Lea in 2006. It said the divestment would further streamline its portfolio and allow the group to focus on logistics. It also said the two companies will retain a close business relationship globally.

DHL Express chief Ken Allen was brought in in February to run Williams Lea Tag on an interim basis, following the departure of chief executive Dan Ellerton. It’s not clear who will helm the business going forward.

Former Williams Lea Tag chief executive Tim Griffiths has been tipped to return to the company, although he has not commented.

Williams Lea Tag was founded in 1820. It is headquartered in London and has a presence in 40 countries.

The firm’s global turnover is no longer separately disclosed by its current owner.

In the UK, Williams Lea posted flat sales of £362m in the year to 31 December 2015, but operating profits fell by 32% to £11.9m and the business had £5.4m in restructuring costs.

Its clients include Santander, BP, Ikea, Costa Coffee, BT and Net-a-Porter.

Advent’s Dawson has worked on the firm’s investments in Poundland, DFS Furniture, Fat Face, and Lululemon Athletics. 

The deal is subject to regulatory approval. 

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