The Hackett Group buys UK outsourcing consultancy Aecus

16 May 2017 4 min. read

London-based consultancy Aecus has been acquired by The Hackett Group, a US headquartered research, benchmarking and consulting group.

Launched in 2014, following its spin-off from US-based Alsbridge Group, Aecus is a consulting firm which supports clients in the areas of outsourcing (BPO / ITO), offshoring, shared services and robotic process automation (RPA) through benchmarking and implementation consulting.

Roughly two and a half years into its second independent spell – Aecus was founded as ALS Consulting in 2002 by a group of former partners from EY and KPMG before it in 2005 merged with Dallas-based Trowbridge to form Alsbridge– the consultancy has decided to join forces with a larger counterpart.

“We are really excited by this – joining The Hackett Group represents a fantastic move forward for Aecus. The strength of The Hackett Group’s brand combined with the breadth of complementary services will enable us to serve our clients even more effectively and will provide our people with greater professional opportunities”, commented Rick Simmonds, Managing Director of Aecus.

The Hackett Group buys UK outsourcing consultancy Aecus

For The Hackett Group, the Aecus acquisition significantly enhances its benchmarking capabilities in the outsourcing domain. The US firm today provides its benchmarking expertise to a large group of corporations, including 93% of the Dow Jones Industrials, 87% of the Fortune 100, 87% of the DAX 30 and 58% of the FTSE, while Aecus holds more than 15 years of proprietary quantitative market data on BPO and ITO agreements. David Ketchin, Managing Director of The Hackett Group’s European Practice, remarked on the added value of the additional skills brought in, “This enhances the value that we can deliver to our clients at any stage of the outsourcing lifecycle.”

David Dungan, The Hackett Group’s COO, added, “There’s tremendous synergy between our two organisations. Like The Hackett Group, Aecus relies on a foundation of benchmarking, enabling it to take a uniquely empirical and objective approach to the issue of how best to handle outsourcing relationships. They consult end-to-end across the outsourcing lifecycle, from feasibility analysis to scoping to transition, optimisation and renegotiation.”

Digital transformation

The bolt-on also bolsters The Hackett Group’s capabilities in the RPA space, which is one of the fastest growing segments of the rapidly growing digital transformation market. According to a recent research, robotic process automation maturity is, despite the value it can bring to support functions such as finance, procurement, accounting, HR and IT, still in its infancy, with for instance only 3% of companies that have achieved mainstream adoption of RPA today. As a result, mainstream adoption of RPA is expected to grow by a factor of nearly 10x in the next two to three years.

“Aecus’ expertise enables them to understand the potential impact of RPA on long-term outsourcing relationships, as well as to advise more broadly on RPA strategy and implementation across the enterprise. This is expected to significantly enhance our ability to support clients’ efforts in RPA, which is a critical element of improving corporate efficiency and effectiveness”, commented Dungan.

We are really excited by this – joining The Hackett Group  represents a fantastic move forward for Aecus

During the sale process, the owners of Aecus were advised by Equiteq, a consulting sector M&A specialist. The deal outcome builds on a relationship between the two parties that spans eight years – Equiteq worked with the consulting firm’s partners throughout their growth to exit journey, supporting among others with the value growth plan, the development roadmap and execution related M&A advice. “We’ve been working with the Equiteq team for many years. They’ve provided excellent advice throughout the long relationship, initially helping us understand and optimise the key value drivers in our business and more recently guiding us through the sale process and ensuring the desired outcome with Hackett was achieved”, explained Simmonds.

Commenting on the deal, Ed Groome, a Director at Equiteq based in the firm’s London office, said, “Completing this transaction is a great example of how Equiteq works with owners and optimises the growth journey. It’s a great case study of how we support owners and meet their objectives by advising on the optimum value development plan and facilitate transactions through international M&A processes. In The Hackett Group, we achieved a very satisfactory outcome for all Aecus shareholders and ensured the business is well placed to continue its growth.”