6 questions for Cision CEO Peter Granat on the PR Newswire deal

Cision CEO Peter Granat sat down with PRWeek to explain what the company's latest acquisition means for customers.

Cision CEO Peter Granat
Cision CEO Peter Granat

Cision has agreed to buy PR Newswire for $841 million from UBM. The combination will require regulatory approval in the US and a yes vote from UBM shareholders. The deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of next year.

Cision has been on an acquisition spree since last fall, snapping up companies such as Viralheat, Visible Technologies, and media intelligence and data insight specialist Gorkana Group. Cision and Vocus officially combined under the former’s brand last October.

PRWeek chatted with Cision CEO Peter Granat on Tuesday about the deal.

What does this acquisition mean to Cision?
We have been working on building out an end-to-end comms platform, and the combination with PR Newswire gives us a market-leading, multimedia content-distribution network, as well as tools beyond [media relations] for IR, as well.

We are really excited about the opportunity. PR Newswire is a great brand in our industry and has great employees and great customers, and I look forward to bringing them together with Cision in 2016.

There has been a lot of skepticism on Twitter that this won’t result in better service for customers. How will this benefit them?
There have always been a number of point solution providers for PR and marketing pros. If you look at the overall landscape of marketing and PR tools, there are many vendors in that space. But when you put together campaigns to get better analytics and drive those campaigns, you need to do that through an integrated suite. So the goal here is a single point of content, single customer service organization, single platform for leading your communication campaigns. We think PR Newswire adds to that capability to do that at scale across many geographic markets that we are not in today.

Are you confident this deal will pass anti-trust hurdles? 
I cannot comment on regulatory and shareholder approval, but we will go through the process similar to what we have done with our other acquisitions, such as with Cision and Vocus.  

[In terms of antitrust review,] one of the reasons we’re excited about the transaction is that Cision and PR Newswire operate in adjacent spaces, without substantial overlaps between the companies, and our solutions complement each other in a very clear way. We think customers are going to embrace the combination, and we likewise expect to complete the antitrust review process in due course.

Will PR Newswire’s executive team and staffers stay onboard?
We just signed today and expect the deal to close in Q1 2016. It is too early to announce any changes, but the goal is to build a combined organization bringing together the best of both PR Newswire and Cision.

Will the name change?
The PR Newswire brand is very strong. We intend to keep the PR Newswire brand; it will just be known as a Cision company.

Following the discovery this summer of a hack targeting various news release-distribution services, what will your company do to ensure it does not happen again?
Security is very important to Cision, but I do not have any comments on that particular investigation.

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