Grant Thornton advises Blackhawk Network Inc. Grass Roots Meetings and Events has been sold to BCD Travel

December 2017
Grass Roots Meetings and Events
Adviser to Blackhawk Network Group on their sale of Grass Roots Meetings and Events to BCD Travel
Grant Thornton team
  • Usman Malik
    Usman Malik
    Head of Business services, Corporate Finance Advisory
Sell side
Corporate finance
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We are delighted to have advised Blackhawk Network Inc. on their sale of Grass Roots Meetings and Events to BCD Travel.

Grass Roots Meetings and Events is a division of Grass Roots Group Holdings Ltd specialising in strategic meetings management and delegate management. The division manages over £150m of meeting spend with the primary focus of improving the performance of meetings and events programmes for its clients. The company operates meetings and events services from key locations in the UK (Fleet and London), New York, Dusseldorf, Zurich and Singapore. The division works with three of the ‘Big Four’ professional services firms, nine of the top 15 investment banks and many other global organisations.  

Grass Roots was originally acquired by Blackhawk Network in 2016 who will continue to retain ownership of the Grass Roots parent company post this divestment.  

NYSE listed Blackhawk Network Inc. engaged with us to help divest the Grass Roots Meetings and Events division so they could focus on their core business: prepaid, gift card and payments industries. 

In what was a highly competitive process, the successful acquirer was BCD Travel who were seeking to strengthen and diversify BCD Meeting and Events (BCD M&E) global service offering. Nigel Cooper, BCD M&E managing director, EMEA commented “Grass Roots Meetings and Events has built a phenomenal offering across the globe – one that is a solid complement to our current business. We saw a strong cultural fit with the organisation and realised our services are stronger together than apart. In addition to the expanded capabilities, no other organisation can offer an end-to-end delegate management solution such as this.” 

We acted as lead advisors to the parent company, Blackhawk Network Inc., on the sale of the division, which was ultimately a highly complex non-core disposal. 


“We would like to thank the Grant Thornton London corporate finance team for the great result delivered. They ran a thorough and competitive process evidenced by the number of offers received for the business, whilst maintaining Grass Roots Meetings & Events’ highly regarded brand. We are pleased with the commitment, tenacity and professionalism demonstrated by the team which has produced the desired result and provides a strong strategic home for the business going forward.”

Jonathan Kenny Managing Director, EMEA, Blackhawk Network Inc