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STARTEK Looks to Reduce Dependence on Telecoms Sector with Accent Acquisition

STARTEK is to acquire Customer Management Services (CMS) BPO provider ACCENT Marketing Services, LLC ("Accent") from MDC Partners Inc. for $16m in cash plus working capital adjustments.

Founded in 1993 and headquartered in Jeffersonville, IN, Accent has 2.3k employees and delivers services from six locations in the U.S. and Jamaica. It has 18 clients in the telecoms, technology, retail, financial services, and consumer products sectors. Current annual revenue run rate is ~$67m, hence the $16m purchase price indicates that it is not a profitable company.

The acquisition is expected to close by the end of May, and STARTEK expects the majority of the integration to be completed by year end 2015. With the addition of Accent, STARTEK will have ~50 clients and ~14k employees operating in five countries.

This is an important acquisition for STARTEK. Not only will it broaden its client base and sector mix, it will reduce its heavy dependence on the telecoms sector, which has accounted for ~80% of total revenues, and where it is exposed to vendor consolidation and reduced contact center volumes in the industry. Just three clients (T-Mobile USA, AT&T and Comcast) account for nearly 60% of global revenues, and in Q1 2015 STARTEK was impacted by a 30% revenue reduction from AT&T. STARTEK has been close to bankruptcy several times in the past four years, and has had to close several of its call centers, most recently in Oklahoma and Costa Rica.

The acquisition will boost global revenues by around 26%, and enhance STARTEK’s omni-channel customer engagement offerings. Accent’s customer engagement agency model will complement and enhance the analytics capabilities gained with the acquisition of Ideal Dialogue in 2013.

STARTEK has clearly been focused on diversifying its client base, having signed $10.5m of new business in Q1 2015 across clients in healthcare, financial services, and consumer products. However, it is the acquisition of Accent that will be the key determinant of STARTEK’s future success as it looks to shake off its dependence on the telecoms sector.

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