Cork-based Poppulo to merge with Four Winds Interactive

Deal values combined companies at $1bn, sources claim

Ireland-based software provider Poppulo is to merge with Vista Equity Partners portfolio company Four Winds Interactive, the companies said in a statement.

The transaction values the combined companies at about $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified because terms weren’t disclosed.

Poppulo makes software that handles internal communications, including making corporate emails more engaging for employees.

Vista first invested in Denver-based Four Winds, which makes technology for digital signs, in 2019. This would be the second and largest acquisition for Four Winds. It acquired UK-based SmartSpace last year, which makes software to help employees book meeting rooms.


Return to work

Both SmartSpace and Poppulo will help Four Winds' customers with their plans for a return to the office following Covid-19, Four Winds' chief executive David Levin said in an interview.

“Covid has changed the way companies are thinking about their workspaces,” Mr Levin said, adding that Four Winds’ digital tools will help keep “employees safe and secure, informed, and well-resourced no matter where they are.”

Before the acquisition, one of Four Winds’ key businesses depended on the hospitality industry, with its software powering signs in big hotels and at sports arenas.

When that industry took a hit, Mr Levin said the company shifted some of its focus to bringing on new clients in industries that were still seeing a lot of foot traffic, such as health-care. Casinos were another bright spot, he said, since they were adding more signs to make consumers feel safer.

Poppulo, based in Cork, is majority owned by its founders, including Andrew O’Shaughnessy. Susquehanna Growth Equity invested $35 million in it in 2019, a statement showed at the time.

Mr O’Shaughnessy said in Monday’s statement that Poppulo improves workplace communications, an area that’s long overdue for change to help reflect how people communicate outside of work.

“The ability to connect and engage with every employee, and to give them a sense of belonging and purpose, has never been as critical as it is right now because of how radically the workplace has changed,” he said.

Poppulo, formerly known as Newsweaver, has worked with clients including GlaxoSmithKline, Aon, Honda and CDK Global, previous statements showed.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter. The combined company will generate about $100 million in annual revenue, the people added. – Bloomberg