In June, EY acquired Integrc, an international advisory firm that provides governance, risk and compliance (GRC) services to companies that run SAP. The deal, which saw roughly 100 professionals in four countries transfer to EY’s Advisory practice, was facilitated by among others Equiteq, an M&A expert specialised in the consulting sector.
Against the backdrop of EY’s ambitious growth strategy for its Advisory business, the Big Four firm has in the past two years alone bolstered its consulting unit with 20+ acquisitions across the globe, of which nine can be considered as major deals. Large pickups include US-based strategy consultancy The Parthenon Group, Netherlands-based Centre Consulting, Australia-based Sweeney Research and German IT-firm Corporate Quality Consulting.
EY’s latest purchase, Integrc, concluded mid-June, saw roughly 100 professionals in the UK, Netherlands, Dubai and India transfer to the firm’s Advisory business. “Integrc has unique and differentiating technology and industry insight. With this acquisition, we will be able to provide a world-class set of solutions to help our clients’ GRC operations work better,” says Jonathan Blackmore, EY Advisory Risk Leader EMEA and India, in June.
For Integrc, the move was part of a broader strategy the firm’s management team had set in 2014. The firm was founded in 2012 through the merger of a Dutch and UK business, and since realised rapid growth, driven by expansion into new territories, a growing demand for GRC services and a suite of differentiated services and products. “However we soon realised that to take growth to the next level we needed to merge with a major firm with a global brand and global reach,” reflects Martyn Proctor, Integrc joint Managing Director.
To facilitate the divestiture process, Integrc’s leadership team decided to engage with Equiteq, a London-based merger and acquisition specialist that helps consulting firms and IT providers with their deal making processes. “When we came to selecting an advisor to lead us through the transaction, Equiteq were the obvious choice,” adds Integrc joint Managing Director Werner van Haelst. “Clearly they already knew us and our business, but also how best to present a consulting business to prospective buyers as well as already knowing most of the interested parties.”
The transaction team, led by Bruce Ramsay, supported Integrc with among others target selection and due diligence, eventually pinpointing EY as the preferred merger partner. EY already had a market-leading position in the GRC domain – the firm was for instance recently named a “leader” by IDC in its latest MarketScape for GRC services* – and with the integration of Integrc the advisory company took a further step up the vanguard value chain. “Integrc is a great example of how to build a valuable consulting business: their focus on a single technology and process (SAP GRC); plus the software they developed to beat competition through faster, cheaper and better implementations; and the operation in India to enable them to maintain relationships and revenue with key global clients through an outsourced support service. All these contributed to making them a well sought-after acquisition target,” comments Ramsay.
With the deal closed on June the 18th, Ramsay’s work has come to end. Reflecting back on the process, Van Haelst says he is “delighted with Equiteq’s support” in achieving a successful transaction, “in terms of both acquirer and deal structure.” Ramsay concludes: “Martyn and Werner have been great guys to work with, and we wish them and their colleagues all the best in EY during the next stage in Integrc’s evolution.”
* IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Business Consulting Services for Governance, Risk and Compliance Vendor Analysis. Other leaders include among others Deloitte, Accenture, McKinsey and PwC.