With cash reserves high and demand rebounding for consulting services worldwide, analysts had predicted that consultancies would dip back into the acquisition market in 2011. Just a few months into the year, that prediction is already starting to come good. In the past week alone a handful of big name firms have added pieces, ranging from small regional units to large international players. We've highlighted a few:
is among those splashing the cash this week, picking up private American outfit ISA Consulting. Formerly holding offices in Atlanta, Boston, New York, and Washington DC, ISA brings an unknown number of employees into the EY fold but three main specialties: business performance management, business intelligence and data integration services. The motivation behind the move is a simple one: strengthen EY's advisory division. "C-suite executives need business insight to drive improved corporate performance," said Andy Rusnak, Enterprise Intelligence chief at the firm. "The addition of this team expands our existing leadership in business performance management and our commitment to providing outstanding service to our clients in this market." Ernst & Young's advisory unit now has more than 20,000 employees.
CSC brought a bigger fish onboard when it moved to purchase iSOFT, a publically-traded Australian IT services provider last week. iSOFT, a 3,300-strong corporation with a presence in 19 countries worldwide, specializes in application development and IT support for the health sector. Overall, the firm asserts, more than 13,000 healthcare providers use iSOFT software, including governments in 40 countries. Mike Laphen, CSC's CEO, was excited about the imminent combination. "The combination of these companies will further establish CSC as an innovative leader in global healthcare IT," he said Friday. "When completed, this acquisition will be a critical step in the expansion of our global healthcare business. CSC will be at the forefront of emerging healthcare technologies, giving our clients access to an expanded range of healthcare capabilities and continuing our journey of bringing the vision of a single patient record to life." The addition of iSOFT's 3,000-plus "specialists" will inch CSC ever closer to the 100,000 employee mark, a milestone achieved earlier by competitors like Capgemini and Cognizant.
SunGard Global Services also moved to bolster its consulting division by picking up Toronto-based Stratix Consulting today. Of course, SunGard is more of an IT services provider than a pure strategy outfit, which is reflected in Stratix's expertise; a press release states that Stratix "delivers IT management consulting and implementation services" to clients working in capital markets, wealth and investment management and insurance. Stratix has been around since 1996, and though no employee figures were given the firm calls itself "one of the fastest-growing IT consulting firms in Canada" on its website. Both firms touted the move as mutually beneficial; Stratix even noted that the merger "is not expected to have a material financial impact on SunGard," suggesting that the pair worked out some sort of unique or conditional deal. Cedric Packham, Stratix's president (and now a SunGard managing director) described the merger as a major opportunity for the relatively youthful firm. "Joining SunGard gives us the opportunity to undertake much larger initiatives," he said plainly.
For more information:
ISA Consulting joins Ersnt & Young
CSC Enters into Agreement to Acquire iSOFT's Global Operations
SunGard Acquires Stratix Consulting