Buyout could mean growth for Watertown employer Stream

Jan 14, 2014

There have been a lot of questions in the wake of an announcement that the Stream Global Services Watertown call center will be sold. The company that’s buying it says if anything, the sale should make workers optimistic.

Convergys is buying out Stream Global Services in an $820 million deal.

The $820 million deal will merge Stream Global Services into Cincinnati-based Convergys. Both companies run customer service call centers for big businesses around the world.

Convergys spokeswoman Krista Boyle says the deal could eventually mean expansion at the call center in Watertown, which now employs about 700. “This acquisition is truly about growth,” she said. “It is not about synergies.”

The Watertown call center is one of 55 that Stream runs in nearly two dozen countries. Convergys is a larger operation, with clients including telecommunications companies like DirecTV and Comcast, while Stream has specialized in serving technology firms.

“Those tend to be very complex calls,” Boyle said. “So if you think about – if you’ve ever had to call into get your phone fixed or your computer fixed or whatever, those tend to be more complicated, so it’s definitely a specialty, and something that we’re really excited about.”

Boyle said the acquisition will diversify the company’s client base and geographic range.

“We really believe that the acquisition of Stream puts the combined company in a better position to compete globally and that that will lead to growth,” she said.  

Local economic development officials say the 700 jobs at the Watertown call center are important to the area’s economy, and Stream provides training and upward mobility.

Boyle says the sale should close by the end of March. Then Convergys will begin talking with workers at the Stream locations about the specifics of the transition.