Cision to acquire Brandwatch for $450 million

The deal is expected to close in Q2 2021.

Cision's CEO Abel Clark.
Cision's CEO Abel Clark.

CHICAGO: Cision has entered into an agreement to acquire Brandwatch for $450 million. 

The deal is expected to close in Q2 2021. This move will combine two companies in their respective industries and will bring customers the benefits of their complementary capabilities to deliver the future of PR, marketing and digital customer engagement, according to a statement from Cision.

Giles Palmer, founder and CEO of Brandwatch, will stay onboard. When asked if there will be any layoffs as a result of the deal, Cision CEO Abel Clark noted that the companies are complementary, so they “do different things.” 

“I look forward to working with [Palmer] and the broader Brandwatch leadership team,” Clark said.

It is still to be determined whether Brandwatch will retain its name.

“Brandwatch has a fantastic market positioning and reputation,” Clark explained. “They have a lot of brand equity and are highly regarded and well known.” 

The combination of Cision and Brandwatch will help the PR industry go way beyond traditional bounds, said Palmer, “with the consumer and media intelligence needed to devise more effective customer engagement strategies from core PR and marketing to deeper research and product development.” 

Cision provides clients with news distribution and media monitoring and analysis with a media contact database of approximately 1 million journalists and media outlets and more than 75,000 customers. Meanwhile, Brandwatch is a digital consumer intelligence and social media listening platform.

Combined, the companies will provide brands and organizations with consumer and media intelligence to devise more effective customer engagement strategies from PR and marketing to research and product development. Whether teams are connecting with journalists and influencers, launching social campaigns, developing brand messaging or conducting deep research into consumer behavior, they will have real-time insights and long-term trend analysis to guide them, a statement said. 

“Our belief is we will be able to provide clients and leading PR and comms professionals with an ability to leverage much richer media — both traditional and social consumer intelligence — and use that to drive much smarter, informed and better understanding of the customers they are engaging with,” Clark said. “Clearer listening and better understanding drives much better engagement. It’s difficult to engage with someone if you don’t listen.”

Brandwatch has 10 offices around the world and is headquartered in Brighton, U.K. And Cision has offices in 24 countries throughout the Americas, EMEA and APAC.

“Since Brandwatch was founded nearly 14 years ago, it has been through many changes, including our merger with Crimson Hexagon two years ago which created the clear leader in our market,” said Palmer. “Now that job is done, it’s time for the next chapter. Given the spirit of the company, it needs to be ambitious. Cision’s scale, visionary owners, and impressive leadership provides that ambitious next step.” 

Asked if any Brandwatch offices will close or be relocated as part of this deal, Clark said that is still to be determined.

“There are a couple of places where we have offices in the same cities, so that is probably an opportunity to get the teams together so we can work more collaboratively,” he said.

In September 2020, Clark joined Cision as CEO, taking over for Brandon Crawley, who was acting as interim chief executive. He previously worked at Thomson Reuters' $5.5 billion financial division, where he was global MD.

Cision filled out more of its leadership team in September, naming Prasant Gondipalli as CFO, Nicole Guillot as COO, Maggie Lower as CMO and Liam Power as head of distribution. 

Crawley took over as interim CEO last February after the departure of former chief executive Kevin Akeroyd weeks after Platinum Equity completed its $2.7 billion acquisition of Cision, ending its three-year run as a publicly traded company. 

This story first appeared on PRWeek US.