TELUS International to acquire Lionbridge AI ahead of IPO


TELUS International has entered into an agreement to acquire Lionbridge AI in a deal valued at US$935 million (C$1.2 billion).

The news broke only weeks ahead of the division’s scheduled IPO, which should see it list in Q1, 2021.

The acquisition – due to close on 21 December – would see TELUS International take control of Lionbridge AI, a division of Lionbridge Technologies, Inc, and one of only two globally-scaled, managed training data and data annotation services providers in the world.

Darren Entwistle, president and CEO of TELUS, said: “Today’s announcement advances TELUS’ commitment to harness the power of technology to provide outstanding customer experiences on a global basis, while accelerating the digital transformation and strategic growth journey of TELUS International.”

“The acquisition will add key capabilities and diversity to TELUS International’s suite of next-generation digital solutions consistent with the ongoing execution of its growth agenda. We look forward to welcoming Lionbridge AI’s skilled team members to the TELUS family as we continue to elevate our world-leading customer experience and innovative technologies for the valued brands we partner with around the world,” he added.

Lionbridge has reported strong performance in its recent financial results, noting 29% revenue growth in FY19 and an EBITDA margin “consistent with TELUS International’s within the range of 20 to 25%”. Its president Ed Jay, said: “We are looking forward to working together with TELUS International to continue delivering the most valuable AI training data and platform for our clients, and to build upon the scale and momentum we have achieved through our crowd of contributors spanning diverse languages, cultures and geographies.”

Backing the acquisition, Entwistle said plans are still underway for TELUS International to follow in the footsteps of TELUS Corporation and go public, in the first quarter of 2021.

In Q3 of this year, TELUS reported its highest quarter on record for combined wireless and wireline loading with 277,000 net customer additions. Meanwhile, consolidated revenue growth stood at 7.7% and EBITDA declined 0.6%, reflective of consistent execution and resiliency in a challenging operating environment; year-to-date revenue and EBITDA growth reached 5.6% and 0.3% respectively.

“TELUS once again achieved strong operational and financial results in the third quarter, characterised by excellent execution, resulting in industry-leading and record high customer growth of over 277,000 net new additions,” said Entwistle.

“This accomplishment, realised against the backdrop of an unprecedented operating environment as a result of the global pandemic, reflects the effectiveness of our world-leading performance culture, underpinned by our highly engaged team. TELUS’ recent recognition as the highest ranking Canadian organisation on Forbes’ World’s Best Employers ranking is a testament to the skill, passion and grit of our high-performing team around the world.”