Telus International Puts M&A in Sights After Trading Debut

Telus International CDA Inc. jumped as much as 34% in its trading debut in New York, completing an initial public offering that could pave the way for future acquisitions by the technology services company.

The unit of Canada’s Telus Corp. priced the transaction at $25 per share, the high end of the expected price range, according to a statement Wednesday. The share sale will generate gross proceeds of $925 million, or $1.06 billion if the underwriters, led by JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley, exercise the over-allotment option.

The company could use its new stock to help smooth the way for deals. “We have a pretty robust M&A funnel that we continue to maintain, to look for areas of opportunity to further amplify and accelerate our growth on an opportunistic basis,” Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Puritt said in an interview.

The company runs digital services for clients like TikTok Inc., Uber Technologies Inc. and Zynga Inc.. Its services include content moderation, IT support, mobile app design and work-from-home technology, and it has staff in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Telus International was trading at $31.51, or 26% above the issue price, as of 1:49 p.m. in New York. Telus Corp. rose 0.3% to C$26.79 in Toronto.

Pandemic ‘Resiliency’

A little more than half of the IPO proceeds will go to Telus International, which it plans to use to repay debt. The rest will go to Telus Corp. and Baring Private Equity Asia. They’ll retain a 55% and 25% interest, respectively, in the company if the underwriters use their option.

Puritt said Telus International has been able to grow their business “pretty successfully” amid Covid-19. The company continues to see “exciting opportunities in terms of organic growth,” he said.

“We’ve been planning this accessing of the public markets for 15 years,” he said. “This is a fairly good time for us to take advantage of the appetite and the receptivity of a business like ours that has demonstrated this resiliency through the pandemic in order to go public.” The company is listed in New York and Toronto.

While the company currently doesn’t have any plans in relation to credit markets, the firm would eventually “explore investment grade debt as appropriate, to support perhaps significant expansionary activity M&A,” he said.

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