GNC Group joins Grant Thornton Australia, deal advised on by Equiteq

15 September 2017 3 min. read
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The GNC Group has joined Grant Thornton’s Australian outfit, in a deal completed on September 1st for an undisclosed fee. GNC, who were advised on the deal by M&A specialists from Equiteq, bring business and consulting experience from engagements in Australia, Asia and the UK to Grant Thornton, as the firm bids to strengthen its network across Asia and Oceania.

Grant Thornton (GT) Australia has more than 1,200 people working in offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, and is part of the global Grant Thornton network of 40,000 people, spread across more than 130 countries. In a deal concluded at the beginning of September, the firm’s Australian contingent will now be joined by employees from the GNC Group, a consulting firm also headquartered in the country.

GNC Group’s model is notably different from the expected “advise and leave” system of external contractors, with the firm’s consultants staying to ensure their advice delivers actual outcomes. The Melbourne-based retail and consumer management consulting firm, which is currently in its eighth year of operations, has an expanding team of 55, having opened offices in Sydney and Kuala Lumpur over the past two years. The merger sees those consultants join Grant Thornton’s Growth Advisory Practice, as GNC’s growth strategy in Australia and South-East Asia continues, backed by GT’s substantial financial clout.

GNC Group joins Grant Thornton Australia, deal advised on by Equiteq

The GNC Group management team cited strong cultural alignment as a key signifier that the firms were a good fit – an essential ingredient also said to be behind the acquisition of OC&C’s French arm by Parthenon-EY – with GNC Partner Nick Johnston reiterating, “Right from the first meeting we felt there was a strong cultural fit between the two companies. We will have the advantages that come with being part of a well-respected global firm whose corporate values are closely aligned to our own. This will allow us to seamlessly integrate with their growth advisory team and bring our experience to Grant Thornton’s clients.”

Grant Thornton Australia CEO, Greg Keith, meanwhile commented “We have a very clear plan to expand our growth advisory business and to provide our clients with even greater expertise and advice. GNC Group has deep experience advising some of the most successful retailers in the country and we’re looking forward to leveraging their capabilities.”

Equiteq advise

M&A advisory experts Equiteq provided guidance to the sellers throughout the process. Pierre Briand, Equiteq’s Managing Partner for Australia and New Zealand, said, “The GNC Group deal is the perfect example of a well-managed consulting firm joining the advisory practice of a larger group to deliver a joint growth strategy. Equiteq was delighted to manage a full process from defining the shareholders’ objectives to completion of the transaction.”

The three Australian founders, Luke Ritchie, Jamie Downs, Nick Johnston, the Chairman Ian McCall and the Malaysian Partner Allard Sjollema jointly stated, “Equiteq has been extremely valuable: we could rely on their professionalism from beginning to end with great outcomes for all parties.”

Earlier this year Equiteq among others advised on the acquisition of CMF Associates by CBIZ (in the US) and the purchase of UK based Aecus by The Hackett Group.