Merkle Buys LiveArea: Details Behind The Acquisition

Merkle has acquired LiveArea from the PFSweb, a global services company. The deal is valued at $250 million is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021.  

“With LiveArea we get a very talented team that fits well culturally, ” said Craig Dempster, Merkle CEO. “It also gives us a scaled commerce capability in the United States, which is our largest market, to provide commerce technology, strategy and managed services.”

LiveArea’s 590 employees -- mostly across the U.S., UK and India -- will transition to Merkle, along with Jim Butler, president of LiveArea. He will report directly to Pete Stein, global experience and commerce lead at Merkle for the Dentsu Group company.

“We’re on a path to integrate all acquisitions under the Merkle brand to have one vision, one team and one brand,” Dempster said.



He said to compete against companies like Accenture, and Deloitte, Merkle needs to continue to strengthen its commerce capabilities. It remains a focus of future acquisitions, he said.

The acquisition aligns with Dentsu Group’s ambition of reaching 50% of revenue generated by Customer Transformation & Technology (CT&T), encompassing the fast growth areas of customer experience and commerce.

With the LiveArea acquisition and consolidation of other recent acquisitions, Butler will take on added responsibilities, Dempster said. LiveArea will keep its brand and name through 2021, and fold into the Merkle brand in 2022.

Following the closing of the transaction, PFSweb expects to use a portion of the net proceeds, somewhere between $185 million and $200 million, along with existing cash on hand, to pay down in full its senior financing facilities.

Raymond James acted as exclusive financial advisor to PFSweb in the transaction. FisherBroyles, LLP acted as legal counsel to PFSweb in the transaction.

Large customer-experience technology partners such as Adobe and Salesforce, are important to Merkle. This acquisition adds to an existing partnership with those types of companies where Merkle provides the implementation and managed services of the technologies in high-growth places, Dempster said.

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