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

By Ramone Param, Director, Equiteq

  • Major deals profiled include DXC’s acquisition of Luxoft, Bain Capital’s acquisition of Brillio and IBM’s reported acquisition of T-Systems’ mainframe service business.
  • Equiteq advised Orbium on its sale to Accenture and Cervello on its sale to A.T. Kearney.      
  • The Equiteq Knowledge Economy Share Price Index experienced rises along with broader market indices.

DXC’s transformational acquisition of Luxoft builds new digital capabilities and sector vertical expertise.

Target: Luxoft is a global provider of technology solutions, including software development services.

Buyer: DXC Technology is a US-headquartered global IT services firm.

Deal Value: $2bn (2.2x TTM Sep-18 revenue)

Deal Insight: 
DXC Technology was formed in 2016 following the merger of HPE’s spin-off of most of its enterprise services business with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). Since its formation, DXC has been highly acquisitive and has announced notable deals across technology and consulting, including the acquisitions of:

  • Tribridge and Logicalis SMC in 2017; and
  • System Partners, Molina Medicaid Solutions and argodesign in 2018.

DXC’s acquisition of Luxoft is a transformational deal for the firm. It provides DXC with important capabilities in outsourced digital engineering, cloud and devops. It also enables DXC to deepen its capabilities for clients in the automotive and financial services sector verticals, particularly in Europe. At the end of January, DXC also announced its acquisition of EG A/S, a Microsoft consulting firm with a strong presence across the Nordics.

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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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The highest price for your consulting business may well come from outside your core industry

The most prolific acquirers of knowledge-led businesses are undergoing unprecedented diversification and convergence across adjacent consulting segments and sectors. At the same time, digital transformation is driving hybrid business models with consulting, technology and managed service revenue. This change is fuelling high levels of M&A activity from trade and private equity investors, which we review in our 2017 M&A report. For owners considering selling their business, an appreciation of these trends is critical to uncovering the synergistic buyers that may offer the highest value.

Convergence between consulting offerings

Global consulting clients are increasingly looking to their advisors for best-in-class, end-to-end consulting solutions. These trends are driving established consulting buyers to use M&A to enter new geographies and acquire complementary capabilities.

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Equiteq advises HS2 Solutions on its investment from Mountaingate Capital

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Equiteq is pleased to announce that it has advised HS2 Solutions, Inc. (HS2), a full-service digital transformation agency offering a broad range of strategy, experience design, development, analytics, and marketing execution services to help clients address their digital priorities, on an investment from Mountaingate Capital (Mountaingate), a Denver-based private equity firm. The transaction closed on November 1, 2016.

Colton King, Managing Director of Mountaingate, said “We are thrilled that Phil and Keith have selected Mountaingate to be their partner; the market opportunity for digital transformation agencies such as HS2 with a value proposition centered on customer experience is very compelling.”

Phil Hollyer, CEO and Co-Founder of HS2, said “Mountaingate brings a unique market perspective stemming from their extensive digital agency services investment experience that will be invaluable as we look to prioritize strategic investments to accelerate our growth and better serve our clients.”

Phil Hollyer said “We initially hired Equiteq to assess the value and market attractiveness of our business. Given their IT and marketing services industry focus and M&A advisory expertise, Equiteq was the logical choice to be our exclusive advisor for the overall process. Equiteq orchestrated a comprehensive and engaging transaction process, demonstrating a keen understanding of the buyer / investor landscape and providing us with sound advice every step of the way. The process led to a handful of transaction pathways to choose from, and Equiteq came through on their value promise and their commitment to delivering a successful transaction outcome.”

To see the full press release, please click here.

To see all our deals, please click here.

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