September 2017: Consulting M&A Update

By Ramone Param, Associate Director, Equiteq

Over September, we observed high-profile deals from prolific knowledge-intensive services acquirers across a variety of transforming spaces of the consulting market, including digital transformation, Salesforce consulting, real estate advisory, benefits consulting and traditional business consulting. In the last month, Equiteq advised four of its clients on the sale of their business to the practice of a larger group.

Selected Consulting M&A announced in September:

Note 1: Based on 2016 LFY Revenue

Aon acquires real estate investment advisor The Townsend Group

Aon announced that it acquired The Townsend Group, a US-based real estate and investment management firm owned by Colony NorthStar. The deal strengthens Aon’s offering for client investment portfolios related to alternative private market assets. Earlier this year, Aon sold its Technology-Enabled Benefits & HR Platform, previously part of Aon Hewitt, to The Blackstone Group for $4.8bn.

Aon acquires The Townsend Group for $475m and net proceeds to affiliates of Colony NorthStar for its ownership interest after transaction and other expenses is estimated to be c.$379m. NorthStar acquired a majority of Townsend from private equity firm GTCR in 2015 for $380m. NorthStar was formed from a three-way merger earlier this year between Colony Capital, NorthStar Asset Management Group and NorthStar Realty Finance Corp.

WPP-owned Wunderman acquires Salesforce-focused consultancy Pierry

Digital agency Wunderman announced its acquisition of Pierry, a US-based technology consulting company offering “marketing-as-a-service” by optimizing campaigns on the Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Wunderman is part of the WPP network, one of the top buyers that we identified in our 2017 M&A report.

Pierry is a Salesforce Platinum partner and its team includes c.100 strategy, creative, technology and digital specialists based across the US and in Kyoto, Japan. Major clients include LifeLock, Louisiana Tech University, the San Jose Earthquakes and YETI Coolers.  The acquisition bolsters Wunderman’s technology consulting expertise and exemplifies the convergence that we are observing at the intersection of Media and Technology consulting.

HPE acquires Cloud Technology Partners

HPE acquired Cloud Technology Partners (CTP), a Boston-based company that helps business customers architect and develop cloud computing capabilities.  CTP was founded in 2010 and employs a team of 200 people working across a range of cloud platforms including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform and OpenStack.

The deal marks HPE’s fifth technology acquisition this year. CTP will become part of Pointnext, HPE’s services business which was re-launched under this brand after HPE spun off its Enterprise Services division to be merged with CSC – now known as DXC Technology.

Havas acquires social media and digital shop The 88

Havas Group has acquired New York digital agency The 88, which specializes in strategic direction, creative services and content creation in social media. The 88 has expertise in industries like fashion, lifestyle and consumer products, and works with high-profile clients including L’Oréal, Mars and Bacardi. The agency offers its customers expertise with Instagram, Snapchat and virtual reality platforms. The c.50 person team will join Havas New York. Founder Harry Bernstein will become Chief Creative Officer of Havas New York office.

Genpact acquires Digital CX consulting firm TandemSeven

Genpact acquired TandemSeven, a Boston-headquartered company that delivers customer and digital experience innovation consulting using design thinking. Design thinking is considered vital in assisting businesses remove obstacles between their front, middle and back offices. TandemSeven’s client list ranges from Fortune 500 to startups and notably includes the likes of McDonald’s, Royal Bank of Canada, Pfizer, Southwest Airlines, and University of San Francisco. The deal better positions Genpact to compete in the large enterprise Digital Transformation market against the likes of IBM and Accenture.

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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