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Tampa’s Sykes Enterprises completes $2.2 billion sale, becomes private

Tampa’s Sykes Enterprises is a public company no more.

The customer service and technical support company, whose name is a fixture on the skyline of downtown Tampa, has completed its $2.2 billion all-cash sale to the Sitel Group, a global customer service firm based in Miami.

Officials with both companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A Sykes news release called the sale a “highly complementary combination” that would give the companies “a wide breadth and depth of service, strong client relationships and considerable opportunities for employees worldwide.”

Sykes Shareholders approved the merger on Tuesday. On Friday, the company filed paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that would remove it from the Nasdaq market.

The sale price, reached in June, represented a value per share of $54.

The slim window between the shareholders’ vote and closing of the deal is not especially common, said Zac Smith, a senior vice president with financial advisory firm Embark, which specializes in corporate mergers and acquisitions.

“Things can move quickly,” Smith said. “Things typically don’t.”
But Smith called the merger a “no-brainer” given the two companies’ complementary assets and specialties. Sykes’s business is focused on the Americas, while Sitel operates largely in Europe. Sykes has invested and developed in AI technology, which Sitel can use to accelerate and upscale automated customer services.

The sale should also strengthen Sitel’s position from which to make future mergers.

“It’s only going to continue to help them expedite their growth,” he said. “This is going to establish a new platform, a new business model, for them to be able to have additional acquisitions. I don’t think this is the last you’re going to hear from them.”

Founded in North Carolina in 1977, Sykes Enterprises relocated to Tampa in 1993 and became a widely known name in financial and philanthropic circles. The company’s logo adorns the top of Tampa’s Rivergate Tower, colloquially called the “beer can building.” Founder John Sykes is the namesake of the University of Tampa’s business school, to which he and his wife Susan are prominent donors. CEO and chairperson Chuck Sykes, who succeeded his father in 2004, is an active local business leader who’s played significant roles in enterprises ranging from downtown development to a potential Tampa Bay Rays move to Hillsborough County.

With the sale complete, Chuck Sykes is expected to transition out of his leadership role with the company. No plans have been announced for cuts among the combined company’s 155,000 employees.

Though the deal is now final...

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