Accenture and CGI buy technology consulting firms in North America

11 September 2017

Accenture and CGI have each completed acquisitions in North America. Accenture has purchased VERAX Solutions, a Toronto-based technology and systems-integration consulting firm that serves the financial services sector, while CGI has bolted Summa Technologies on to its operations, obtaining around 200 IT consultants from the US firm.

Founded in 2003, VERAX employs around 180 people at offices in Toronto and Halifax. Serving leading banking, insurance and capital markets institutions, VERAX delivers IT consulting initiatives across the full range of financial-services lines of business, including wealth management, brokerage and mutual funds, mobile and online banking, retail and commercial banking, and insurance and capital markets.

Now, in a deal for an undisclosed fee, consulting industry players Accenture have acquired the company. The addition of VERAX’s proven technology and systems-integration expertise across the financial services sector is aimed at complementing Accenture's own consulting and technology capabilities in Canada. It comes as the latest in a number of acquisitions over the course of 2017, the year during which Accenture set out plans to expand their operations by way of investing $1.8 billion in merger and acquisition (M&A) activity.

Verax is now part of Accenture

According to Robert Vokes, Managing Director of Accenture's Financial Services practice in Canada, the deep technical knowledge of VERAX and strong culture of collaboration to deliver results were key factors behind the deal. "We believe [VERAX] will greatly complement and enhance the breadth and depth of our financial services capabilities in Canada,” Vokes said. He concluded that, “The combination of Accenture and VERAX will help enable our clients to react even more quickly and with even more confidence, as banks face increased pressure to adjust to new digital capabilities, new regulatory requests, and increased competition."

Sid Thomas, VERAX's CEO and founder, meanwhile said, of the deal "We are excited to join Accenture, whose scale, scope and reputation for excellence will benefit our clients and will provide an opportunity for our employees to escalate their careers and enhance the benefits they deliver to our clients."

Further global deals

Elsewhere, Canadian consulting firm CGI has also acquired Summa Technologies for an undisclosed sum. The 200-person IT consultancy – which has been featured seven times in the annual Inc. 5000 ranking of fastest growing privately listed companies in the US – specialises in providing software development expertise. The company serves banking and financial services, retail, manufacturing and healthcare, CGI indicated. Summa has a strong business footprint in the Pittsburgh area, and, according to the Inc. 5000 report for 2017, saw revenues of $35 million last year on the back of 44% growth over the previous three year period.

CGI acquires Summa

Like Accenture, CGI have aimed at raising the bar for competitors by way of an aggressive expansion strategy in 2017. Summa is CGI’s fourth strategic consulting acquisition in the U.S. in the 2017 fiscal year, while CGI Nordic Investments (another CGI subsidiary) is in the process of acquiring Affecto, a provider of business intelligence and enterprise information management solutions and services.

The CGI consulting outfit are presently seeking to expand their operations inorganically to compensate for growing demand, with their parent company CGI Group currently drawing an annual revenue in excess of C$10 billion. Hhowever, they also have an order backlog reportedly exceeding C$20 billion, which, if accurate, means should they expand their capacities rapidly enough, and could potentially double their present revenues. Adding to this growing demand, CGI were awarded a substantial $100 million Identity Management solutions contract by the US government earlier in the year. The firm presently employs 12,000 professionals in 80 cities across 34 American states.

According to a prepared statement from CGI President and CEO George D. Schindler, “Merging with Summa is another step toward fulfilling our strategic objective to double the size of our company through a balanced blend of organic and acquisition growth. Summa adds capabilities, strength, and size to our U.S. business, allowing us to create additional focus in one of our target growth metros.”


SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019

UK consulting firm SQW Group has completed its first acquisition since it completed a management buyout in January 2019. BBP Regeneration joins the company having collaborated with SQW for more than 20 years.

Established in 1983, SQW Group now operates all over the world. Comprising SQW, Oxford Innovation, Oxford Innovation Services – one of the UK’s leading innovation centre operators – and Oxford Investment Opportunities Network, the organisation’s origins can be traced to Britain’s two ancient university cities: Oxford, through Oxford Trust founders, Martin and Audrey Wood, and Cambridge, through SQW’s work in producing The Cambridge Phenomenon.

The consultancy specialises in public policy, working with entities from the public, private and voluntary sectors to research, develop, implement and evaluate social and economic development interventions. It now employs over 250 people across regional offices in London, Oxford and Edinburgh, and provides business support to over 4,000 entrepreneurs and small businesses each year. At the start of 2019, SQW secured its independence in a management buyout, advised on by M&A experts from Liberty Corporate Finance and Penningtons Manches.

SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

SQW has strengthened its position as a provider of services across the business spectrum with the acquisition of BBP Regeneration. Founded in 1994, the consulting firm specialises in land and property-based regeneration and growth schemes, and is a leading social and economic development consultancy. 

The two firms first worked together over 20 years ago, when SQW and BBP collaborated to develop the first Regional Economic Strategy for the South East. More recently, they developed an economic strategy for Thanet and are now working together in locations stretching from Cwmbran via Oxfordshire to London.

With the addition of BBP, SQW can now provide an integrated advisory service for organisations developing property schemes which deliver economic benefit to their local area. By joining SQW, meanwhile, BBP hopes to further enhance its ability to support clients in delivering property and place-making ambitions. 

Speaking about the deal, SQW CEO David Crichton-Miller commented, “The UK more than ever needs solutions to the challenges of places – of high streets under threat, of meeting housing delivery targets, and of both economically over-successful and economically challenged towns and cities – and the combination of SQW and BBP is uniquely suited to developing those solutions. [This deal] brings together critical and complementary services relating to places to serve our clients with leading edge and practical advice.”

Andy Smith, Director of BBP Regeneration, added, “SQW shares with BBP the same values of seeking to provide outstanding, practical, real world advice that helps get buildings built and places developed.  We greatly look forward to the opportunities that come from joining our two organisations together.”