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Advantage Solutions simplifies international footprint

peter frost

Advantage Solutions said today it has made a number of moves to simplify and restructure its international businesses, including reducing its stake in Advantage Smollan Limited, a joint venture with the Smollan Group.

The move, effective Nov. 30, takes Advantage from a majority stake of under 60% in the joint venture — an international retail solutions group operating in Europe — to a minority stake of 49.6% in exchange for cash and other considerations.

The company also said it swapped a minority interest in a small foreign asset for approximately 2 million Advantage shares and discontinued two Daymon business units in China that were not profitable.

Advantage CEO Dave Peacock said the changes will reduce back-office complexities and expenses, simplify financial reporting, eliminate losses in Daymon’s Asian businesses and enable the company to gain shares of Advantage stock, which is trading at a level that Advantage views as fundamentally disconnected to its inherent value in the public markets.

Its decision to reduce its stake in Advantage Smollan better aligns with how the business is managed day-to-day and reduces costs and complexity, largely via a reduction in back-office activities such as accounting and systems management, the company said. Advantage’s resulting stake preserves a substantial interest in the European business and access to its future growth potential, Peacock said.

“While we continue to view our international business as a long-term growth lever and our investment to be strategic, we believe this change in ownership better aligns with our management of the international business and allows us to prioritize efforts on our core businesses in North America,” Peacock said. “We are happy with the outcome financially and excited to continue partnering with the Smollan Group as a significant minority shareholder in our joint venture going forward.” 

The share-swap involves a small foreign asset, which did not meaningfully contribute to Advantage’s revenue or earnings before income taxes, depreciation and amortization. The move reflects confidence in Advantage’s stock, Peacock said.

Its decision to discontinue two Daymon business units in China will free up Advantage to focus its resources on its growing demonstration marketing business in the country.

The moves come as Advantage, a leading provider of sales and marketing services to consumer goods manufacturers and retailers, continues an effort to refocus on its core businesses and accelerate growth.

Advantage, Peacock said, will continue to seek growth from international markets via its ongoing large minority stake in Advantage Smollan, its direct minority stake in the Smollan Group and through its wholly owned operating businesses, which include private-brand and experiential services business units that operate in more than a dozen countries. Advantage also continues to directly operate a large business in Canada.

“We remain committed to realizing growth from our business in international markets,” Peacock said. “The streamlining efforts we announced today will enable Advantage to serve those markets in a more focused and profitable way.”