August 2017: Consulting M&A Update

By Ramone Param, Associate Director, Equiteq

Accenture acquires marketing agency Wire Stone

Accenture acquired creative agency Wire Stone, which provides a range of strategy and marketing campaign services that develop digital consumer experiences. Wire Stone was founded in 2000 in San Francisco and has built a reputation for the use of technology and data to improve marketing campaign return on investment. The business has worked with a number of blue-chip clients including, Microsoft, HP, PayPal and eBay.

As highlighted in our latest quarterly M&A update, Accenture continues to be highly acquisitive and is developing Accenture Interactive’s capabilities and talent across marketing and consulting. According to a recent report by Adweek, Accenture Interactive’s projected 2017 revenue of $6bn places it above Havas Worldwide, although it is not a holding company and therefore does not rank among the “Big Six” of WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Havas, IPG and Dentsu.

Infosys acquires product design and CX studio Brilliant Basics

Infosys announced that it would acquire Brilliant Basics, a London-based product design and customer experience innovator. Brilliant Basics’ expertise is in service design, user experience and technology. The business has offices in London and Dubai and has worked with a number of leading financial services clients, including HSBC, CBI Bank and National Bank of Abu Dhabi.

Infosys had previously partnered with Brilliant Basics on digital transformation projects. The acquisition is part of the Indian outsourcer’s plan to create a worldwide connected network of digital studio innovation hubs focused on customer experience.

The acquisition is expected to close during the second quarter of fiscal 2018.

Advisory Board reaches deal to sell education and healthcare businesses

The Advisory Board Co has agreed to sell its healthcare and education businesses in a transaction valued at $2.58bn. The business has developed a strong reputation for providing research and software tools, as well as consulting services, to healthcare and education firms.

Vista Equity Partners will acquire the education business for $1.55bn. Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group, will acquire the healthcare business for $1.3bn. The healthcare business will operate as a subsidiary of Optum and will be led by Advisory Board CEO & Chairman Robert Musslewhite.

Both transactions are expected to close by early 2018.

Apax Partners to acquire ThoughtWorks

Funds advised by Apax Partners acquired ThoughtWorks, a global software development and digital transformation consulting company.

ThoughtWorks was founded in 1993 in Chicago and has grown into a global business with over 4,500 employees across 42 offices in 15 countries. The business is considered a pioneer in agile software development and its solutions are used in enterprise-wide digital transformation projects.

The deal is expected to close in the final quarter of the year.

Selected Consulting M&A announced in August:

Note 1: Based on 2016 LFY Revenue

Important Notice: This article has been compiled using our daily activities in the industry that provide us with unique market intelligence, along with various third party information sources. In many cases, valuation metrics and other deal data has not been confirmed.

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