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SolarCity snaps up direct marketing firm for $120M

SolarCity will spend $120 million to buy the direct marketing unit owned by the same company behind those celebrity-endorsed acne wash infomercials.

SolarCity will buy Paramount Solar for $120 million in its pursuit of a lofty goal: to grow its solar installations to one million customers in the next five years. That's about 6,000 megawatts worth of installed solar panels.

Right now, SolarCity has about 68,000 customers and 400 MW of solar installations. In short, the company has a long way to go. Meanwhile, competition for customers is escalating as solar prices drop, forcing companies to invest in branding, sales and outreach.

Landing new customers is an expensive endeavor and SolarCity is betting this acquisition will help reduce those costs. Paramount Solar is already one of SolarCity's most successful channel partners, the company says.

The acquisition also brings in masters of direct marketing. Paramount's majority owner, Guthy Renker, is the same company behind those celebrity-endorsed acne skin care infomercials for Proactiv Solution. Ben Van de Bunt, longtime CEO of Guthy Renker, is expected to join SolarCity’s board of directors later this year, subject to nomination procedures and board approval.

Under the terms of the agreement, SolarCity will acquire Paramount Solar for $116.3 million in stock, and the remainder in cash. Paramount Equity CEO Hayes Barnard will join SolarCity as chief revenue officer in charge of the company’s sales and marketing organizations upon closing of the acquisition.

Photo: SolarCity

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com