Equiteq advises 4C, a leading Salesforce multi-cloud partner in Europe and the Middle East, on its acquisition by Wipro

London- July 27th, 2020

Equiteq, the leading M&A advisory firm for companies in the Knowledge Economy, is pleased to announce that it has advised 4C, one of the largest Salesforce partners in UK, Europe and the Middle East, on its acquisition by Wipro, a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company.

About the Transaction

On July 23, 2020, Wipro Limited (NYSE: WIT, BSE: 507685, NSE: WIPRO), announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 4C, one of the largest Salesforce partners in UK, Europe and the Middle East.

Established in 1997 with its headquarters in Mechelen, Belgium, 4C is an independent Salesforce Platinum Partner and one of the leading customer-centric consultancies in Europe and the Middle East. 4C has deep capabilities across multiple Salesforce clouds including Sales, Marketing, Field Services and specializes in transforming Quote-to-Cash processes with Salesforce’s Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) and Billing solutions. 4C has successfully delivered over 1500 projects, for more than 500 customers and is one of EMEA’s most certified Salesforce partners with over 1000 Salesforce certifications.

With over 350 employees based out of local offices in London, Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen and Dubai, 4C has a robust Salesforce practice in the UK, France, Benelux, the Nordics and the United Arab Emirates regions. This acquisition significantly strengthens Wipro’s position as a leading provider of Salesforce solutions in these markets. Wipro has a well-established Salesforce business in the Americas, Japan and Australia which was reinforced with the Appirio acquisition in 2016. 4C will be consolidated as part of Wipro’s Salesforce practice, which provides market leading solutions globally around multiple Salesforce clouds and its ecosystem of products.

Jerome Glynn-Smith, Equiteq’s Managing Director in London, said, “We are delighted to have delivered this transaction, setting 4C up for its next phase of expansion. We see an ongoing trend of business combination between innovation boutiques and global majors in consulting, to support the ever-expanding scope of the Salesforce ecosystem.”

“We are excited to have the team at 4C join us. They bring in a rich blend of deep Salesforce expertise across multiple clouds coupled with a team of multi-faceted, multilingual experts with strong regional knowledge. This combination along with Wipro’s reach across the region and industry, will help us become a dominant player in Europe and a leader in Salesforce’s Quote to Cash domain,” said Harish Dwarkanhalli, President, Cloud Enterprise Platforms (CEP), Wipro Limited.

“Wipro shares the same values as we do. Their global presence, robust digital transformation consulting and delivery capabilities and significant investment in the European market, provides an excellent platform for the growth of our employees. We will now leverage this opportunity to take the next leap in building companies for the future for our customers, not just locally but across EMEA,” said Johan Van Genechten, Chief Executive Officer, 4C

The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be closed in the quarter ending September 30, 2020.


M&A Market Round Table – 30th July

The 4C-Wipro transaction marks Equiteq’s fourth deal in the Knowledge Economy since the end of June. 

This Thursday at 4pm GMT, Equiteq is hosting the latest in a series of webinars covering the latest on M&A market trends, and what buyers/investors are saying and doing.

The session will also feature feedback of results from our M&A Attitudes survey, and address questions from business owners on how to optimize transaction outcomes in the current market.

You can still complete the 10-minute survey here, and add questions you’d like to be covered. The survey includes an option to register for the webinar.  Or you can directly register here.

Equiteq advises Water Street Partners, a leading joint venture and alliance advisory firm, on its sale to Ankura

July 2020

“It is hard to imagine the Equiteq team of Adam Tindall, Dan Kim, Ravi Dosanjh, and Tom Tartaglia delivering a deal under more difficult circumstances. The COVID pandemic was breaking out as we signed the LOI – Adam and the team steered us through tremendous uncertainty with dogged persistence, extraordinary effort, real creativity, and integrity.” – Geoff Walker, Co-Founder Water Street Partners

Water Street Partners, LLC (“Water Street”), a premier joint venture and alliance advisory firm, announced on July 2, 2020 that it has been acquired by Washington, D.C.-based global business and expert advisory firm, Ankura. 

Water Street Partners was founded in 2008 when McKinsey & Co. colleagues James Bamford and David Ernst, along with Corporate Executive Board alum, Geoff Walker, set out to find a better way to do what they love: advise on unique, highly complex joint ventures and alliances. Water Street soon augmented its leadership team with the vital additions of Gerard Baynham and Peter Daniel to grow the enterprise into the world’s premier joint venture and alliance advisory firm. Water Street’s core service offering is centered on transaction, governance, and portfolio advisory services for joint ventures and alliances. In late 2019, Water Street engaged Equiteq’s M&A team to run, manage, and execute a transaction. Water Street is partnering with Ankura to accelerate its growth organically and continue to build on its leading position in the joint venture and alliances market.

“We are excited to join the Ankura team, and we share a commitment to serving clients and a common culture focused on collaboration and respect,” said James Bamford, a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Water Street. David Ernst, also a Co-Founder and Managing Director of Water Street, added, “We look forward to working together with our new colleagues and helping them grow our combined businesses through a continued commitment to exceeding our clients’ expectations.”

Ankura is a business and expert advisory firm based in Washington, D.C. that is widely recognized as the global leader in providing expert advice across a broad array of complex and highly challenging situations.

“We continue to grow our business by attracting top talent in defined and attractive market segments and fostering a collaborative environment that encourages these leaders to leverage one another’s insights and expertise to deliver high-quality, customized solutions to our clients,” said Kevin Lavin, Chief Executive Officer of Ankura. “Water Street is a proven leader in the joint venture and alliance advisory sector. This combination extends our delivery of expert advice to an expanding global client base facing complex and challenging situations.”

Regarding Equiteq’s role in the transaction, Co-Founder and Managing Director Geoff Walker said, “My Co-Founders and I had been consumers of Equiteq’s research for years before embarking on our sale process. It was clear to us that they were deeply experienced in our space and this became even more apparent when we evaluated Equiteq alongside a number of other, highly respected investment banks. Adam and the team did not disappoint. We are thrilled with the value they helped us capture, and more importantly, the home they found us at Ankura to continue to grow our business, serve our clients, and create opportunities for our team.”     

Adam Tindall, Managing Director of Equiteq’s North America practice, commented, “It has been an honor representing the world’s premier joint venture and alliance advisory firm in this transaction. The Water Street team have done a fantastic job at building a highly specialized and successful practice, and Ankura will be a great home to support the company’s growth. We wish the combined team great success.”   

About Equiteq (www.equiteq.com)

Equiteq is the knowledge economy M&A specialist, advising owners of knowledge-intensive businesses around the world from offices in London, Paris, New York, Singapore, and Sydney. Equiteq helps owners best achieve their value and exit objectives through accelerating equity growth and ultimately realizing that value in a trade or private equity sale.

About Water Street Partners (www.waterstreetpartners.net)

Water Street Partners, which will operate under the Ankura brand name, is the world’s leading advisory firm on joint venture transactions and governance.  Water Street’s transaction work specializes in joint ventures and other non-M&A partnerships, both in new deal formation and restructuring. On governance, Water Street advises clients on corporate and joint venture governance, working with boards, management teams, and individual shareholders.

Water Street is built around giving its clients access to the most experienced advisors, the most comprehensive database of practices and benchmarks, the best proprietary tools, and the widest network of practitioners in the world.  Based in Washington, D.C., Water Street’s work spans a wide variety of industries and geographies. Water Street has negotiated, restructured, or advised many of the largest and most complicated partnerships in the world. Since its founding in 2008, Water Street has advised on 250+ JV transactions valued at $750 billion, and supported the shareholders, boards, or management teams in more than 450 existing joint ventures.  Prior to Water Street, its founders were global co-leads of the joint venture and alliance practice of McKinsey & Co.

About Ankura (www.ankura.com)

Ankura is a global business advisory and expert services firm defined by HOW we solve challenges. Whether a client is facing an immediate business challenge, trying to increase the value of their company or protect against future risks, Ankura designs, develops, and executes tailored solutions by assembling the right combination of expertise. We help clients navigate a wide range of corporate performance and risk management challenges, including those pertaining to compliance, investigations, forensics, technology, turnaround and restructuring, and corporate strategy. We build on this experience with every case, client, and situation, collaborating to create innovative, customized solutions, and strategies designed for today’s ever-changing business environment. This gives our clients unparalleled insight and experience across a wide range of economic, governance, and regulatory challenges. At Ankura, we know that collaboration drives results.

M&A boom for Cloud MSPs focused on AWS and Azure

Following on from deals in the space by Accenture, IT Lab, Cognizant and NTT Data in recent weeks, another five cloud deals announced just this week. Just one of the hotspots we’re tracking in the Tech Services space.

(Equiteq’s first Cloud Consulting M&A report was in 2014 – we were excited about 70 globally deals in the whole year, and predicted it as a major trend.)

2nd June – ProArch (Atlanta) Acquires iv4
Read full article here >

3rd June – Netreo Acquires CloudMonix (Azure)
Read full article here > 

3rd June – Navisite acquires Privo  (AWS)
Read full article here > 

3rd June – Deloitte Ireland acquires DNM (next gen AWS)
Read full article here >

3rd June – Effectual acquires Five Talent (DevOps)
Read full article here >

January 2020: Knowledge Economy M&A and Equity Market Update

  • Major deals profiled include NTT Data Services’ acquisition of Flux7, Accenture’s purchase of Clarity Insights and Atos’ acquisition of Maven Wave.
  • The Equiteq Knowledge Economy Share Price Index rose over the month.

NTT Data Services acquires Flux7, bolstering its AWS consulting capabilities.

Target: Flux7 is a US-headquartered company specialized in cloud implementation and migration, automation and DevOps consulting services.

Buyer: NTT Data Services is a US-headquartered provider of IT insights and solutions.

Deal insight: The acquisition of Flux7 forms part of three acquisitions announced by NTT Data Services in 2019. The buyer is bolstering its IT consulting capabilities across North America and the purchase of Flux7 adds consulting capabilities in the rapidly growing AWS’ public cloud. The deal also strengthens NTT Data Services’ capabilities in application modernization, a space in which it was named a leader in the Q3 2019 Forrester Wave for Application Modernization and Migration Services.

In April, Flux7 raised funding from NewWave Partners to invest in the expansion of its DevOps consulting services. Its acquisition by NTT Data Services will give Flux7 access to NTT’s global R&D capabilities and infrastructure. The deal will also enable Flux7 to offer its clients a broader set of digital transformation and innovation capabilities from an established global platform.

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November 2019: Knowledge Economy M&A and Equity Market Update

  • Major deals profiled include Tech Mahindra’s acquisition of BORN, DXC Technology’s purchase of Virtual Clarity and Accenture’s acquisition of Silveo.
  • Equiteq advised on five completed transactions over the month.
  • The Equiteq Knowledge Economy Share Price Index rose over the month.

Tech Mahindra continues its North American acquisition spree with its purchase of digital agency BORN.

Target: BORN Group is a US-headquartered digital contentand productionagency.

Buyer: Tech Mahindra is an India-headquartered provider of IT services and consulting.

Deal value: $95m

Deal insight: Tech Mahindra continues to build its North American digital capabilities with a string of acquisitions. Its purchase of BORN follows the Indian outsourcer’s acquisition of US-based design agency Mad*Pow in July and the purchase of Canadian IT consulting firm Objectwise Consulting in June. Tech Mahindra also recently invested in US-based software development company Altiostar. This significant deal flow from Tech Mahindra over 2019 reflects a notable uptick in activity as compared with the last five years.

The acquisitions of North American digital capabilities by Tech Mahindra reflects a shift for traditional IT outsourcing giants. Most are pivoting their service offering away from their shrinking legacy outsourcing core market and toward the growing digital and innovation consulting sectors. Major outsourcing players are using a blend of organic growth initiatives, early stage investments, and M&A to enable this. Some of the most active traditional outsourcing firms that are purchasing businesses in the digital and innovation space include Accenture, Cognizant and Capgemini, as well as other Indian outsourcing giants like Infosys and Wipro.

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July 2019: Knowledge Economy M&A and Equity Market Update

  • Major deals profiled include Bain Capital’s acquisition of Kantar, Tech Mahindra’s acquisition of Mad*Pow and PA Consulting’s purchase of 4iNNO.
  • Equiteq advised WGroup on its sale to Wavestone and RevUnit on its investment from Mountaingate Capital.
  • The Equiteq Knowledge Economy Share Price Index dipped slightly over the month.

WPP sells research and analytics business Kantar to Bain Capital.

Target: Kantar is a UK-headquartered research, data and insights business that was owned by global marketing network WPP.

Buyer: Bain Capital is a US-headquartered multi-asset alternative investment firm.

Deal value: $3.1bn (1.5x TTM Dec-2018 revenue)

Deal insight: In June, The Drum reported that WPP was in the process of selling Kantar. It was noted that Vista Equity Partners, Apollo, Platinum, as well as Bain, were four US private equity’s bidding for the research unit. The private equity focused process exemplifies a broader trend of strong demand for major knowledge-intensive services businesses from cash-rich financial buyers that are supported by robust fresh fundraisings. Kantar’s investment from Bain Capital follows the financial buyer’s acquisition of digital consulting firm Brillio in January.

WPP is undertaking a crucial transformation of its business following the resignation of Sir Martin Sorrell last year and Mark Read’s appointment as the marketing network’s new CEO. WPP recently sold its stake in Globant to pay down debt and announced internal mergers of agencies to create a more comprehensive digital-focused offerings for its clients. This is part of a three-year plan of “radical evolution” that was outlined by Read to improve WPP’s business performance. This is aimed at better positioning WPP for growth by countering new competition from innovative non-traditional media competitors from the consulting and technology sectors.

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June 2019: Knowledge Economy M&A and Equity Market Update

By Ramone Param, Director, Equiteq

Major deals profiled include Capgemini’s acquisition of Altran, Tieto’s acquisition of EVRY and CVC’s acquisition of Teneo.
The Equiteq Knowledge Economy Share Price Index rose over the month.

Capgemini and Altran create a global digital transformation leader with strong ER&D capabilities.

Target: Altran is a France-headquartered provider of engineering and R&D services.

Buyer: Capgemini is a France-headquartered global provider of consulting, IT services and digital transformation.

Deal value: €3.6bn (1.2x TTM Dec-2018 revenue)

Deal insight:
The purchase of Altran will enable Capgemini to take a leading position as a service provider focused on engineering, research and development (ER&D) as part of the digital transformation of industrial and tech companies. The acquisition is a milestone transaction for Capgemini that builds on previous deal flow in areas like digital media, cyber security and financial services consulting. This includes the purchase last year of digital consulting firm LiquidHub, which was acquired for €400m from ChrysCapital. The buyer followed this acquisition with the launch of Capgemini Invent, which combined Capgemini Consulting and expertise in technology and data science. The new brand comprised LiquidHub, innovation consulting firm Fahrenheit 212, as well as creative design agencies Idean, Adaptive Lab and Backelite. The acquisition of Altran, along with these recent acquisitions and restructurings, better positions Capgemini against growing digital transformation competitors like Accenture, Cognizant and the Indian IT services players.

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May 2019: Knowledge Economy M&A and Equity Market Update

By Ramone Param, Director, Equiteq

  • Major deals profiled include Orange’s acquisition of SecureLink, Perficient’s acquisition of Sundog Interactive and Tetra Tech’s purchase of WYG.
  • The Equiteq Knowledge Economy Share Price Index dipped slightly over the month.

Orange deepens its cybersecurity capabilities in Europe.

Target: SecureLink is a Netherlands-headquartered provider of security consulting, security maintenance and support, as well as advanced managed detection and response capabilities.

Buyer: Orange is a France-headquartered provider of a range of telecommunications, data transmission and related services.

Enterprise value: €515m (2.1x FY 2018 revenue)

Deal insight:  Orange accelerates its growth in the European cybersecurity market with its acquisition of SecureLink, one of the largest independent services players in the region. Demand for cybersecurity solutions is growing as technology plays a greater role in critical business functions across industries. According to data from ResearchAndMarkets.com, Europe’s cybersecurity market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 11.3% and will be worth $47.2bn by 2023.

The purchase of SecureLink follows Orange’s acquisition of UK-based cybersecurity specialist SecureData, which was purchased at the beginning of the year. These deals, along with the acquisition of Business & Decision, form part of Orange’s strategy to become a global player in digital transformation and data services.

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The Cybersecurity Global M&A Report Q1 2019

By Ramone Param, Director, Equiteq

We have released a summary of our detailed review of cybersecurity M&A and investment trends for owners of technology and consulting businesses.

  • Strong demand for deal flow from cash-rich strategic buyers and private equity investors;
  • Capital raised for investments was well above long-term averages;
  • The Equiteq Cybersecurity Share Price Index rose c.44% over a two-year period, while the NASDAQ rose by 26%; and
  • Notable M&A deals included Blackberry’s completed $1.4bn purchase of Cylance, as well as CACI’s acquisition of LGS Innovations and Mastodon Design for $750m and $225m respectively.

The global cybersecurity market is expected to grow rapidly over the coming years. Accelerating digital transformation of businesses across industries has opened new vulnerabilities with the continued shift to new cloud-based systems, as well as the rising adoption of mobile devices, social media platforms and advanced data analytics tools. Some new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and behavioral analytics are also being considered to protect against, identify and block cyber-attacks. However, the overall risk of cyber-threats is expected to rise with the proliferation of data.

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April 2019: Knowledge Economy M&A and Equity Market Update

By Ramone Param, Director, Equiteq

  • Industry deals profiled include Accenture’s acquisition of Droga5, S4 Capital’s acquisition of Caramel Pictures and ProgMedia, and Publicis’ purchase of Epsilon.
  • The Equiteq Knowledge Economy Share Price Index rose with broader equity market indices over the month.

Accenture’s purchase of Droga5 exemplifies the rapid transformation of the digital media competitive landscape

Target: Droga5 is a US-headquartered advertising agency with over 500 employees that has worked with a variety of blue-chip clients including Amazon and The New York Times.

Buyer: Accenture is an Ireland-headquartered global technology services firm.

Deal insight: Droga5 is the largest agency acquisition that Accenture has made to date. The deal further entrenches Accenture Interactive as a major player in the digital media space, putting pressure on the “Big Six” traditional media networks – WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Havas, IPG and Dentsu. It will also put pressure on acquisitive growing consulting and technology firms that have already entered the space, including Capgemini, Cognizant and Deloitte Digital.

The deal forms part of another active year of deal flow for Accenture. Last year, Accenture Interactive was named the largest digital network worldwide by Advertising Age in its annual agency report for the third year running. Accenture Interactive’s major deals through 2018 included Adaptly in the US, Mackevision in Germany, Meredith Xcelerated Marketing (MXM) in the US, HO Communication in China and Altima in France.

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