As I've written here before, consultingfirms are increasingly looking to broaden their service offerings throughacquisition. But while that domain has of late been dominated by IT shopslooking to offer the full range of services, from software design through tohardware development, Deloitte's CEO BarrySalzberg has made it clear that those ITbigwigs are not alone. Deloitte, Salzberg says, is now looking to bulk upthrough acquisitions—specifically in the areas of environmental and, to alesser extent, technology consulting and data analytics. The firm is set forthe moment in the government services area, having brought BearingPoint intothe fold last year for $350 million.
As Salzberg said yesterday, "I would be very willing to make another and very willing toposition ourselves properly for the right kind of acquisition or a combinationin the market." And, in response to chatter about a potential Booz-A.T. Kearney merger on thehorizon, Salzberg said he wouldn't rule out the possibility of buying either ofthose companies, but that they are not "as high a priority for me" asother potential deals.
Leaning the way of the one-stop shopping that has becomea familiar theme of the larger acquisitions that have gone down over the pastyear (see: HP/EDS, Xerox/ACS, Dell/Perot Systems, etc.), Salzberg also mentionsthat he's interested in buying businesses that create a product (that would becomplementary to Deloitte's services), rather than relying on employees' time—onethat "isn't as dependent on the hourly production of people."
While Salzberg, as yet, hasn't mentioned any specific companiesthat he's looking to court, he did explain that he's not talking small potatoeshere; large acquisitions are the way to go, he says. And bringing those largecompanies under the current Deloitte umbrella will be no small task, either. "Ifit's going to be a bigger acquisition you need to think about a lot more thanthe business itself," he said. "You've got to look at cultures,you've got to look at fit," among other issues. He's certainlysetting us up for some future drama!
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