Could you enhance your business valuation by embracing AI?

Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer the domain of science fiction. Instead, it’s rapidly becoming a dominant force in the Fourth Industrial Revolution – that of digital transformation.

It’s likely that many owners of knowledge-intensive services businesses, such as IT services, media and marketing agencies or consulting firms, will be considering how AI fits into their strategy.

Further, those looking to sell their business in the future would do well to consider how AI might enhance their market position. Buyers are increasingly interested in acquiring knowledge-intensive businesses with these capabilities, which means those demonstrating the foresight to embrace AI sooner rather than later could expect to command a premium valuation.

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Global consulting M&A mixed in the second quarter, after a strong start to the year


By 
Ramone Param, Associate Director, Equiteq.

Equiteq’s quarterly market updates provide an indicative guide to current M&A market conditions in the consulting industry. However, it should be noted that we typically observe large variations between quarterly M&A volumes, which are not always reflective of longer term trends.

M&A activity was mixed in the second quarter after a strong start to the year. Overall global deal activity in the consulting sector fell by 12% quarter-on-quarter. Deal volumes fell by just 2% on the same quarter last year. The Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index rallied in the second quarter, achieving similar returns to the S&P 500.

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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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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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Artificial Intelligence developments are transforming customer experience

By Ramone Param, Associate Director, Equiteq.

We were pleased to recently attend the Salesforce World Tour in London and Boston, where we listened to speeches from Salesforce President, Keith Block, along with senior members of IBM Watson and Amazon Web Services. These talks focused on the transformation of customer experience as part of the so-called ‘fourth industrial revolution’. This revolution is being characterized by the convergence of cloud, social, mobile and technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

This trend is notably being observed through the development of eCommerce and smart devices, which now utilize predictive marketing and advanced data analytics. This technology is expected to become increasingly sophisticated with the rapid advances in AI.

Percentage of surveyed companies using or planning to use AI in the following ways

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May 2017: Consulting M&A Update

By Ramone Param, Associate Director, Equiteq.

FIS sells majority stake in Capco to private equity

Clayton, Dubilier & Rice announced their acquisition of a 60% majority stake in Capco from FIS, a leader in financial services technology. Capco is the public brand for FIS’ management consulting business and specializes in business, digital and technology consulting services for the financial services industry. FIS acquired Capco for $292m in 2010 and will receive net cash proceeds of $477m from the sale, while retaining a 40% stake in the business.

New Mountain acquires OneDigital Health and Benefits

OneDigital, one of the top buyers that we identified in the HR space, announced that it has been acquired in an all-cash deal by private equity investor New Mountain Capital. New Mountain is acquiring a majority ownership in the business from Fidelity National Financial Ventures for a reported $560m. The investment will be aimed at providing strategic guidance and industry expertise, while helping drive OneDigital’s continued growth.

OneDigital is the United States’ largest provider of employee benefits services and offers employers a combination of strategic advisory, analytics, compliance support, HR capital management tools and comprehensive insurance offerings. The business serves 35,000 companies and manages c.$4 billion in premiums.

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