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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Equiteq advises Aecus Limited on its sale to The Hackett Group Inc.


Equiteq is pleased to announce the sale of its long-term client, Aecus Limited, to The Hackett Group Inc. Aecus is an award-winning European consultancy that helps clients optimize business process outsourcing (BPO), IT outsourcing (ITO) and robotic process automation (RPA) through benchmarking and implementation consulting.

Equiteq acted as exclusive financial advisor to Aecus Limited and its shareholders on the sale of the business having previously worked with the company for over 8 years in a strategic advisory capacity. The transaction closed on April 7, 2017.

Discussing the transaction, Aecus Managing Director Rick Simmonds commented, “We are really excited by this – joining The Hackett Group represents a fantastic move forward for Aecus. The strength of The Hackett Group’s brand combined with the breadth of complementary services will enable us to serve our clients even more effectively and will provide our people with greater professional opportunities.”

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Lift & Shift: following the rise to cloud migration

For every consultant who spotted the cloud opportunity and raced to embrace it, there will be another who is still not quite fully convinced.

Clients have spent hundreds of thousands – or even millions – on their on-premise solutions, they are comfortable with their data centres and have established long-term relationships with their maintenance engineers. They’re not ready to give all that up in one go. And, as long they resist a wholesale move to cloud, there’s a role for IT consultants and specialists to offer support for these traditional models.

But the pace of change is quickening; clients have tuned in to piecemeal migration and with software vendor innovation being cloud-focused, the largest traditional consulting firms have seen the writing on the wall, turning to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as the only credible way of rapidly building their cloud capability.

Shaun Fröhlich is UK managing partner of Incredibleresults, and works with leadership teams to accelerate value growth.

“We are all on a spectrum,” he says. “Many believe the world is changing because of the cloud and it is spurring them on to cash in their chips on their existing business, but there is an almost equal number that remain neutral and see it as an evolution, not reason to trigger a capital event.”

Despite the cloud offering faster, less disruptive deployment and easier global enablement – while cyber-security concerns have increasingly been addressed – migration to the cloud isn’t yet wholesale for most organizations.

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5 things every consulting firm must know to thrive in Asia-Pacific

Equiteq’s CEO, David Jorgenson, and Jean-Louis Michelet met with Professor Kevyn Yong (Dean of ESSEC Asia-Pacific and specialist of entrepreneurship) at ESSEC Business School in Singapore to discuss the opportunities and challenges impacting M&A activities in the Asia-Pacific region.

This is the third part of their discussion: What advice would you give to consulting firm owners in one of the Asia-Pacific countries?

The consultancy landscape in Asia-Pacific has changed in the last few years. There has been a strong development in the use of consultants as the regional economies have grown and become less dependent on the primary sector, and have seen a surge in secondary and services sectors activities.

A 2016 report from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific shows the increased activity in the services sector is partly down to its role in facilitating global value chains in the manufacturing sector. It also attributes this to the growth of digital-intensive services in sectors like financial services, telecommunications and digital media and marketing.

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Training isn’t just for athletes

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This week we have a guest blog from Patrick Chapman, Business Development Partner at Elevation Learning.

Everyone agrees that most of the value of a professional consulting firm comes from the people within the organization. In fact, staff in a consulting business are so important that ‘consultant loyalty’ is one of Equiteq’s 8 levers of equity value. So if you want to grow your firm with a view to selling it one day, then nurturing and developing your staff has to be one of your priorities. Unfortunately, when looking to improve financials prior to sale, training is one of the first budgets to be cut. However, this strategy is undertaken at your peril and will end up doing more harm than good.

To build value, your staff team needs to have a shared language and consistent ways of working. This will allow different groups of consultants to come together quickly to form a cohesive unit for each client engagement, meaning truly chargeable work starts more quickly. This ultimately protects your margins and when the value of the whole exceeds the sum of its parts, your bottom line performance will benefit, meaning you’ll be more appealing to buyers.

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Shifting personnel model within the consulting space

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Advancing technologies and cloud computing, a maturing millennial generation and the rise of the ‘gig economy’ are creating an environment where consulting businesses are increasingly looking beyond the traditional employed model toward more flexible employee solutions.

This way of working suits consultancies, but they need to consider how it affects the equity value of their company.

Does a stigma still exist in the minds of buyers of knowledge-intensive firms when considering an acquisition? Potential suitors may view a more traditional, fully staffed model as more attractive for reasons of consistency, continuity and a deeper entrenchment of brand values and culture. However, these characteristics and contract working are not mutually exclusive.

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Finding the right non-executive director or board advisor

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Paul Collins is the Chairman of the Board of Directors at Equiteq and has held a number of non-executive directorships.

Non-executive directors (NEDs) can play an important role in helping a business navigate its way through often-choppy waters and grow. They can provide valuable advice, but only if they have the right skills and experience. So how should a consultancy aiming for growth and eventual sale choose an NED?

First off, unless your business is well past the $50m mark in revenue, you don’t really need an NED and can instead have a board advisor. Until a firm is well over this size, it won’t have the governance issues to consider that mean an NED is needed.

Becoming an NED brings with it all the legal liabilities of being a formal director, but arguably without much of the additional information that directors have. In my experience, it works best for an NED to attend board meetings quarterly, with informal communications in between these times. If the NED attends the monthly board meeting then they can quickly become bogged down in the operational issues, rather than provide the strategic insight that they should be concentrating on. But if they don’t attend these monthly meetings, yet have the same legal liability for the company as the executive directors, then this can put many people off the role.

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What I learned during the sale of my consultancy

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This week we have a blog from Marc Jantzen, founder and former CEO of Blue Sky Performance Improvement, who sold his consultancy to Capita in 2013. He is now an Associate Director at Equiteq.

We’d been building value in our consultancy with a view to selling it for several years and I was pleasantly surprised at the speed with which we received an offer, and at its size, when we decided the time was right to sell. However this was by no means the only surprise in a sale process during which I learned a lot.

Balancing everyday operations and deal demands

While there will obviously be more work to do during the deal process, the challenge of running the business in parallel with meeting information requests for the deal should not be underestimated. Bear in mind too that if you choose not to share the fact you’re looking to sell widely with staff, you will find yourself requesting information from staff and not being able to explain exactly why you need this data.

And the demands do not fall only on the management team; the finance team’s workload also increases dramatically. If I was going through the process again now, I would hire additional resource for our finance team, because we found that they didn’t have time to keep on top of our debtors like they normally did. This affected our working capital, which is a key figure that buyers scrutinize.

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How strategically attractive is your consultancy to potential buyers?

Sales Prospection

A range of factors contribute to how strategically attractive a target is to a potential buyer. While different buyers will place different emphasis on these factors, to appeal to the widest number of buyers a consultancy should aim to stand out in as many of these areas as possible.

Sector attractiveness can be judged in two ways. Is the consultancy operating in a sector which is already attractive? Or are there clear drivers of demand in a hot sector? An example of the latter is the current trend for data architecture and management involving the move from hardware to the cloud. With more and more companies changing the way they store their data, consultancies operating in this area are in high, and growing, demand. In the media space, digital marketing consultancies are seeing high demand for their expertise.

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5 minutes with Equiteq’s Paul Beaumont

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Name and job title

Paul Beaumont, Growth Director

What do you do at Equiteq?

I work with clients to help them grow equity value so that they will be in a better position to sell when the time comes. The engagement usually starts with our Equity Growth Accelerator diagnostic and then I will help the senior management team to implement the improvements we have identified together.

What do you think is the most interesting aspect of working with consultancies?

The range of topics that people find to consult in is astonishing. It’s always a challenge learning what our clients do, and very satisfying when you’ve got a good enough grasp to be able to help.

What do you enjoy the most about working at Equiteq?

I work with people who are running their own businesses. Every conversation is an interesting one! The clients provide such stimulation; that’s what I enjoy most.

If you weren’t doing this job, what would you be doing?

I’d be a stand-up comedian, but I’m not funny enough, which is why I’m doing this job!
Paul's Book

What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had recently outside of the world of work?

My debut novel, A Brief Eternity, was shortlisted for an international book prize. It didn’t win, but it was nice to be on the list.

What is the most powerful lesson you’ve learnt in your career?

Nobody likes a smart-arse, so don’t be one!


If you’d like to contact Paul, please email him on
Paul.Beaumont@equiteq.com