June 2017: Consulting M&A Update

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By Ramone Param, Associate Director, Equiteq

Accenture acquires Salesforce specialist Phase One

Accenture agreed to acquire Phase One Consulting Group, a Virginia-based digital transformation specialist for the federal market with strong capabilities in Salesforce cloud solutions. Phase One will join Accenture Federal Services upon completion of the deal.

Phase One offers secure cloud implementation and consulting services to federal agencies for projects across various government sectors. The business had backing from RLJ Equity Partners, who acquired Phase One in early 2015. The company also received an undisclosed amount of development capital from Salesforce Ventures in September of last year.

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Equiteq named Boutique Investment Banking Firm of the Year


We are delighted to announce that Equiteq has won the Boutique Investment Banking Firm of the Year at the 9th Annual International M&A Advisor Awards. This recognition from The M&A Advisor comes hot on the heels of the 15th Annual American Business Awards, where Equiteq was awarded Bronze winner for Company of the Year – Banking & Financial Services – Small.

The Co-CEO and President of The M&A Advisor, David Fergusson, said “The 2017 International M&A Award winners represent the best of international M&A industry in 2016 who earned these honors by standing out in a group of very impressive finalists.”

Commenting upon the award, our CEO, David Jorgenson, said “I’m thrilled that for the second year in a row, an independent judging committee of top M&A industry experts determined that Equiteq should receive another highly acclaimed award. Equiteq has built a unique global boutique model that is 100% focused on helping owners of knowledge-intensive business services firms achieve their exit goals through sale preparation and transaction execution. We are very proud that our individuality and expertise has set us apart.”

To see all of our awards, please click here.

Are you a member of Equiteq Edge? It’s full of content to help consulting firm owners prepare for sale and sell their business. Register here to gain full access.

How to put margins at the center of your business

There’s perhaps no topic more important for consulting firms than improving profits. Because of this, we recently ran two 30-minute webinars on improving margins. This week, we’re looking at questions asked during the first of these, which explored how to put margins at the center of your business.

If 20% EBIT is a good target for a consulting firm, would a firm achieving 40% EBIT be viewed as considerably more valuable?

At face value, a 40% margin business might appear more valuable, but it depends on whether the buyer considers this sustainable.

Some will interpret a margin of this size as indication that the firm has under invested in itself and will discount this. Because of this, we typically recommend that 50% of revenue be spent on the delivery of your services and 30% should be allocated for overheads – such as selling or marketing the business, admin costs or recruitment or IT fees – leaving the remaining 20% for EBIT.

Firm owners might be wise to consider investing any EBIT above 20-25% into growing the top-line instead.

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Six steps to successful leadership succession

By Penny de Valk, Associate Director, Equiteq

Leadership succession involving a transition from the founders has its own specific challenges. Founders leave a huge legacy in the business, which in one sense is extremely valuable but can also result in a level of dependency that introduces risk.

Governance roles will change at exit, when an owner/founder will typically move from an executive position. The challenge here is that the owner/founder will need to be conscious of their change in role and step back sufficiently to allow successors to create their own leadership identity, while still continuing to offer their unique skills and experience in a broader governance role.

If you’re a founder preparing for a transition, getting it right involves ensuring you set up the new CEO for success, while simultaneously moving away from the operational side of the business and continuing to add value.

The difficulty for founders is they are used to being in control and making decisions independently, which means trusting the new leader can be difficult.

If they do achieve this, it ensures value is not diluted. In fact, it can result in value being enhanced.

Read our six steps to help founders achieve a successful leadership transition and listen to our webinar on the topic too!

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Equiteq advises CMF Associates on its sale to CBIZ, Inc.


Equiteq is pleased to announce that it has advised CMF Associates (“CMF”), a leading provider of financial and operational consulting services to the private equity sector, on the sale of its business to CBIZ, a national, publicly-traded professional business services firm.

This transaction highlights Equiteq’s position as the leading global provider of advisory services exclusively to firms in the knowledge-intensive business services sector.

Founder and Managing Partner at CMF, Thomas Bonney said, “CMF sought a committed partner who shared our growth-oriented vision of scaling our position as a premier service provider to private equity and their expanding portfolio. We found in CBIZ an advocate that will provide us with offices across the country, complementary tangential services and the resources to drive portfolio value creation in a more comprehensive way and on a national scale.”

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How IP can make your profits fly

By Adam Blatchford, Associate, Equiteq.

Smart Scaling is all about growing revenues and profits while also building your equity value, as opposed to doing one at the expense of the other. Intellectual Property is central to that, it is a ‘win-win’ because buyers want it and it drives profitable growth in your firm.

Whether your firm generates revenues of $20m or $100m, IP differentiates you. It ensures clients buy your services, means you can deliver profitably, and makes investors love you. This blog will focus on how to achieve that in your firm.

What is IP?

In simple terms, intellectual property is any knowledge recorded and maintained as a usable business asset. In most consulting firms, this means ‘trade secrets’, such as process maps, methodologies, training systems and software tools, rather than just copyrights and trademarks.

There are three main types of IP:

  • IP to market the business
  • IP to deliver business
  • IP to run the business

All three are important, but in the context of Smart Scaling we will focus on delivery IP. See here for a deeper discussion of the three types.

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Equiteq sells behavioural assessment and development consultancy to PSI Services LLC


Equiteq, a global consulting and IT services sector M&A specialist, is pleased to announce the sale of the UK based A&DC Group (“a&dc”) to PSI Services LLC headquartered in California. As leaders in behavioural assessment and development, a&dc provides consultancy services and a comprehensive range of ready-to-use, tailored and bespoke products across the talent management spectrum.

Equiteq acted as exclusive financial advisor to a&dc. The transaction completed on June 5, 2017.

The acquisition of a&dc strengthens PSI’s core Talent Assessment offering.

Nigel Povah, CEO of a&dc commented “When I started a&dc 30 years ago, I was passionate about providing great assessment and development content. The a&dc portfolio – with over 250 assessments – will continue its journey alongside PSI’s assessment technology, which will drive the delivery of our robust assessment content into the digital era.”

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