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Following up on last year's acquisition of BearingPoint's North American assets, Deloitte has entered talks with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants that will likely result in a comprehensive merger. The deal, which Deloitte representatives hope to complete by the year's end, would see Roland Berger's 2,000+ employees regrouped and rebranded under the banner Roland Berger Deloitte Strategy Consultants. This marks a bold step forward in what the Financial Times calls Deloitte's bid to "overtake McKinsey as the market leader in strategic advice." The firm's efforts to do so appear to be gaining momentum; with a revenue haul of $833 million in 2009, Roland Berger is a much more aggressive pick-up than BearingPoint, bought outright for just $350 million. Deloitte's consulting divisions raked in an impressive $7.5 billion last year, and further expansions could see consulting supplant audit as Deloitte's primary revenue generator in the near future. Revenue benchmarks aside, firm representatives also note that Roland Berger's long-held establishment in the European market will seamlessly complement Deloitte's capabilities in North America and Asia, the parent firm's traditional strongholds—assuming the deal goes through, that is. As of yet, nothing is certain.
Could we really see Deloitte surpass McKinsey as the world's go-to strategy consultancy? One thing is certain: With Deloitte hot on the acquisition trail, and plans in motion to bring 250,000 new employees to Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu by 2015, McKinsey doesn't stand a chance in terms of resources and good, old-fashioned bulk. As far as McKinsey is concerned, though, clients don't much care about size—quality is their paramount concern. Will McKinsey be able to maintain its industry-leading standards of quality in the face of direct competition? Will Deloitte's strength in resources translate to quality delivery, or will its size ultimately weigh it down? Exciting times ahead!
- Sam Reynolds
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