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

  • Major deals profiled include American Securities and Lindsay Goldberg’s acquisition of AECOM’s Management Services business, BCG’s purchase of AllofUs and Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of Sophos.
  • Equiteq advised Presence of IT on its sale to Deloitte and Mitrais on its sale to CAC Holdings.
  • The Equiteq Knowledge Economy Share Price Index rose modestly over the month.

Thoma Bravo makes offer to acquire next generation cloud-enabled cybersecurity solutions provider.

Target: Sophos is a UK-headquartered specialist in advanced cloud-enabled cybersecurity solutions.

Buyers: Thoma Bravo is a US-headquartered private equity firm.

Deal value: £3.1bn ($3.9bn) (5.5x TTM 31-March-2019 revenue)

Deal insight:  Thoma Bravo will be acquiring a cyber security provider that has positioned itself as an innovator in the market by leveraging advanced capabilities in artificial intelligence, cloud, data analytics and managed threat response. 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. In addition to these industry drivers, robust capital raises and dry powder are supporting strong demand from private equity firms bidding on the potential for stellar returns in the space.

Thoma Bravo is an investor that has experience of investing in major assets in the cyber security space. The private equity buyer previously acquired Imperva, a provider of cybersecurity solutions to protect systems on-premise and in the cloud, in a deal which was valued at $2.1bn. The investment firm also acquired Veracode, a provider of next-generation application security testing, which was purchased from Broadcom for $950m. We have also noted major recent cyber security deals from Thoma Bravo’s competitors including Blackstone and KKR, who exited their investment in Cylance to BlackBerry last year.

Sophos is listed on the London Stock Exchange and Thoma Bravo’s proposed offer price of $7.40 pence per share in cash represents a 37.1% premium to the closing price of Sophos shares on 11 October 2019. The acquisition of Sophos is being denominated in dollars against a backdrop of continued forex volatility in the UK through Brexit negotiations. This presents significant foreign exchange risks to investors that are being paid in sterling.

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Equiteq wins Cross Border Deal of the Year award!

We are delighted to announce that we have won Cross Border Deal of the Year ($50 – $100mm) at the M&A Advisor Awards 2016.

Our Managing Director for North America, Nico Esposito, collected the award at a ceremony in New York on Nov 9. It was given to us in recognition of the quality of our work on the successful sale of Noah Consulting to Infosys. To read a case study on the deal, please click here.

David Fergusson, Co-CEO and President of The M&A Advisor said “The award recipients represent the finest in the M&A industry in 2016 and earned these honors by standing out in a group of extremely impressive finalists. From lower middle market to multi-billion dollar deals, we are recognizing the leading transactions, firms and individuals that represent the highest level of achievement.”

Nico Esposito added “Our thanks go to Noah Consulting, who gave us the opportunity to work with them and to help realize the value they had built in their very exciting business.”

David Jorgenson, CEO at Equiteq talks about our win.

To read the full press release, 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.

Award Season shines bright for Equiteq

As the business award season is upon us, Equiteq is delighted to have been named a finalist in key awards on both sides of the Atlantic. The M&A Advisor Awards brings M&A industry leaders together to recognize and honor the top performers, whilst The Lloyds Bank National Business Awards is the UK’s most prestigious awards programme, showcasing businesses achievement.


The M&A Advisor Awards

The M&A Advisor Awards has been recognizing the leading dealmakers, firms and transactions since its inception in 2002. Celebrating the creativity, perseverance and ingenuity of the M&A industry’s professionals, the 2016 ceremony takes place on 9th November, at which Equiteq are finalist in the following 4 categories:

  • Professional Services (B-TO-B) Deal of the Year
  • Corporate and Strategic Acquisition Deal of the Year (over $25-$50mm)
  • Cross Border Deal of the Year (Over $50-$100mm); and
  • Boutique Investment Banking Firm of the Year – International.

Read full press release here.

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Brexit U.K. Market Update

Consulting buyers report “business as usual” with respect to acquisitions in the U.K. and Equiteq’s Consulting Share Price Index continues to rally beyond pre-Brexit levels, supported by the release of a string of robust economic data.Brexit Blog Cropped

Two months on from the U.K.’s vote to leave the E.U. and the vast majority of the U.K. and overseas consulting buyers that we are in regular discussion with report that it is business as usual as it relates to their strategy for acquisitions. Robust investor confidence in the consulting and IT services sector is also evident from the continued rally of the Equiteq Consulting Share Price Index beyond the levels reached pre-referendum, with some consulting sub-segments touching record highs. This positive sentiment is supported by the strong U.K. and European economic data that has been released over the past two weeks.
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As we discussed in our last quarterly update, the initial period following the U.K. referendum was marked by a spike in volatility, particularly as it relates to the trading of equities and currencies. This week it was announced that U.K. manufacturing exports are at their highest level in two years and a Eurozone economic sentiment indicator published by the European Commission rose in July. This market data is painting a more optimistic picture of post-Brexit economic conditions, particularly when combined with the surge in U.K. retail sales and the fall in the U.K. unemployment claimant count, which were both announced this month. These recent economic figures contradict some of the early indications that consumer and investor confidence was falling in July.

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5 minutes with Equiteq’s Pat Webb

1. Name and job title

My name is Pat Webb and I’m a Client Director

2. What do you do at Equiteq?

I have two hats. I’m part of the Business Development team in North America but most of my time is helping owners and management teams prepare their firms for sale. I help them focus on the issues which are dragging their equity value down so that when we take them to market we’ll get them the best possible price.

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

Focus is the key to equity growth (easy to say but hard to do). All manner of things can get in the way, sometimes even the owners themselves! So, the most interesting aspect is advising on what to do, and the right order to tackle things, to drive up equity value.

4. What do you enjoy the most about working at Equiteq?

The work is challenging, the people are smart and there’s a culture of comradery – that’s a pretty potent combination!

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

I grew up in Scotland but I’ve never been to a Whisky Distillery; I now live in Vancouver but I’ve never walked the West Coast Trail; I’m a lifelong book lover but I haven’t read every book on my bookshelves, so I’d probably be exploring more of the world.

6. What is the proudest moment of your career?

There’s excellent research about how one’s personal values shift over a lifetime from entry level through mid-career to late career. I think rather than identify my proudest moment, I would just say that I’m glad I’ve paid attention and lived from my values especially when that’s meant swimming against the tide.

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

Our house has been thoroughly chomped upon by a succession of BC & Alberta Guide Dog puppies-in-training! Only about 50% of the dogs graduate as seeing-eye dogs. Many of the others are retrained as Autism Assistance Dogs and some go on to work as Canine Concierges in high profile hotels where they attract lots of positive publicity which in turn helps with awareness and fundraising.

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

I need to be able to answer three questions in the mind of a client: can I trust you, do you care about me, can you deliver?

If you’d like to contact Pat, please email her on Pat.Webb@equiteq.com

David Jorgenson appointed as new CEO at Equiteq to develop and execute our global growth strategy

We have made several key appointments across our US and UK offices to broaden our global leadership team. Equiteq operates from offices in London, New York, Singapore and Sydney.

New York based David Jorgenson, who joined Equiteq two years ago as Global Head of M&A, succeeds Paul Collins as CEO of Equiteq. Jorgenson has advised business owners, shareholders and C-level executives on every aspect of growth and value realization during his 20-year career as a technology consultant and investment banker. He is an expert in every aspect of corporate financial advisory – from valuation, strategic financial advisory, public and private equity and debt financing, exit planning, M&A strategy and execution.

Collins, who will take on a new role within Equiteq as Chairman of the Board of Directors, commented: “Following expansion into North America and Asia-Pacific, Equiteq is closing a record number of deals and will benefit from a new team to take it forward. David is a very experienced advisor in the professional services and IT services space and is uniquely suited to lead Equiteq in its next phase of growth.”

Jorgenson, has made two new appointments: Nicodemo Esposito, has been promoted to Managing Director, Head of M&A and Strategic Advisory North America and Alex White, previously Head of Private Equity at BDO Corporate Finance, joins Equiteq as Managing Director, Head of M&A and Strategic Advisory Europe. Jean-Louis Michelet will continue to lead the Asia Pacific region as Managing Director, Head of M&A and Strategic Advisory Asia Pacific.

Jorgenson commented: “Equiteq has developed a unique business model combining deep industry expertise with premier transaction capabilities. I am very excited about the opportunity to develop our global execution model and continue delivering outstanding outcomes for our clients.”

To read more about our team, please click here. 

Five minutes with Equiteq’s Gaby Silvestris

Gaby Photo

1. Name and job title

Gaby Silvestris, Director

2. What do you do at Equiteq?

I work in the Execution/Transaction Team in London. My job is to lead and support clients through the entire company sale process, advising shareholders on their exit strategy and maximizing value. This is comprised of several tasks, from preparing a compelling information memorandum and blind profile, addressing any areas of concern to potential buyers, identifying suitable strategic buyers and leading negotiations with preferred buyers, to closing the deal.

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

Whilst we specialize in consulting and knowledge-intensive business services companies, their skills are applied to a wide variety of industries (for example IT, property, cyber security consulting, etc). Furthermore, successful consulting businesses are built around very clever individuals who have managed to create a true ‘value added proposition’ in their fields of expertise. This makes every transaction unique, challenging and exciting in its own right.

4. What do you enjoy the most about working at Equiteq?

There is a great work environment and all my colleagues are top class; they all have different sets of skills that complement each other very well.

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

Hmm that is a tricky question because I love what I do for a living. I get a great buzz from closing deals! I guess that if I was being pushed for an answer, I would be a travel guide or something along those lines because I really enjoying travelling and recommending my pick of the top 5 ‘must do/visit’ after every trip to my friends.

6. What is the proudest moment of your career?

Every time I close a transaction I get a great sense of achievement. No deal is perfect, there are always some bumps and challenges to overcome in every transaction. I think, it would be unfair to choose one in particular. When I started my career in corporate finance, my mentor told me ‘you are only as good as the last deal you closed’. So many years later, this still resonates with me and keeps me motivated to get even more deals under my belt.

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

Swimming with big groups of wild dolphins in the Indian Ocean. I love animals and love seeing them free in their natural habitat.

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

Assume nothing and double check everything.

If you’d like to contact Gaby, please email her on Gabriela.Silvestris@equiteq.com

5 minutes with Equiteq’s Paul Beaumont

Paul Beaumont Photo
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