Q3 M&A Update: Robust overall global deal activity across the consulting sector, with large variations by segment

  • Overall global deal activity +1% year-on-year
  • Strong rise within Management Consulting and Media segments
  • Strongest deal flow in North America
  • Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index reaches new highs

By Ramone Param, Associate Director, Equiteq

Overall global deal activity in the consulting sector rose by 1% year-on-year. Deal volumes were flat as compared with the second quarter. These overall trends masked large variations in deal activity amongst market segments. The Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index continues to show record highs as investor confidence in the sector remains strong.

M&A Activity strongest in the Media Agency and Management Consulting segments

Despite notable deals occurring in HR and IT, deal activity fell in these segments. There was a strong rise in M&A within Management Consulting and Media. Engineering deal activity rose strongly against the prior quarter, but remains broadly flat on the same quarter last year.

M&A Transaction Statistics by Consulting Segment

Accenture continued to be the most acquisitive technology buyer, acquiring 7 businesses, with notable deals in spaces like communications strategy, creative media, asset management consulting, agile software-development, cloud-based mobile, and big data and analytics.

North America enjoyed a strong third quarter and Private Equity continue to be active

There was strong deal flow in North America, contrasting declines in M&A in Europe and the Asia-Pacific. Despite continued trade tensions between the US and parts of Asia, cross-border deal flow fell only slightly as compared with the prior quarter.

Private equity activity continues to remain strong despite fierce competition and strong pricing from cash-rich strategic buyers.  Apax Partners’ acquisition of ThoughtWorks and Vista Equity Partners’ acquisition of The Advisory Board Company’s education business marked notable financial buyer investments this quarter.

Equiteq Share Price Index reaches new highs

The Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index rose over 3%, outperforming the FTSE 100, but underperforming the S&P 500. The Human Resources and Engineering segments were the strongest performers. The Management Consulting and IT segments enjoyed modest returns, and the Media segment fell.

Access the full Q3 2017 Global Consulting Mergers and Acquisition Report.

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