Kelly Services acquires IT staffing provider Softworld in $215 million deal


Kelly Services Inc. (NASDAQ: KELYA, KELYB) acquired Softworld Inc., an IT staffing and workforce solutions firm headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, for a base purchase price of $215.0 million. The deal closed on Monday.

The acquisition helps round out Kelly’s offering in the IT space, further strengthening the company’s abilities in those areas, said Hugo Malan, president of Kelly Science, Engineering and Technology. Softworld also expands the company’s product suite with offerings in outsourcing and statement-of-work type structures.

“We’re very excited about what this does for our IT capabilities,” Malan said in a call with SIA.

The deal also fits with Kelly’s focus on becoming more of a specialty talent provider. Kelly already ranks as the second-largest provider of life sciences staffing and third-largest provider of engineering staffing.

Softworld operates in several end-markets, including financial services, life science, aerospace, defense, insurance, retail and IT consulting. It posted revenue of more than $100 million in 2020. Softworld ranked on SIA’s Fastest-Growing Staffing Firms list last year with a compound annual growth rate between 2015 and 2019 of 17.9%.

The base purchase price of $215 million is subject to customary adjustments to reflect changes in net working capital, cash, indebtedness and transaction expenses.

“Through the acquisition of Softworld, Kelly adds to its portfolio a business with a consistent track record of growth whose deep expertise in technology complements the company’s focus on fast-growing, high-margin specialties,” Kelly President and CEO Peter Quigley said. “Softworld’s high-performance culture, underpinned by a talent-first mindset and an unwavering commitment to client satisfaction, make it a natural fit within Kelly.”

Softworld will continue to operate under its own brand.

“We are excited to begin a new chapter in Softworld’s history as part of the Kelly team,” said Softworld President David Teitelman, who will continue to lead Softworld and report to Malan.

Kelly’s well-known brand and its relationships with large companies combined with Softworld’s technical and industry expertise will empower their collective team, Teitelman said.

Kelly is also continuing to look at acquisitions in this space.

“I don’t think we’re done; we will continue to look for interesting opportunities,” Malan said.