Heidrick & Struggles acquires competitor Amrop in Denmark

03 October 2017 Consultancy.uk 5 min. read

Human capital consultancy Heidrick & Struggles has dealt a blow to its competition in Denmark with the acquisition of direct rival Amrop Denmark. As part of the deal, all five of Amrop’s partners are set to join Heidrick & Struggles’ Copenhagen office as partners.

Founded in 1953 by two former employees of the management consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, Heidrick & Struggles is today one of the globe’s larger premier executive search and leadership consultancy. The firm, which has been active in London since 1968 (its first European venture at the time) has over 1,500 employees today, serving multinational and blue-chip clients across the globe. 

Roughly twenty years ago, in 1996, Heidrick & Struggles first set foot in Denmark, and its Danish operations in Copenhagen have grown from strength to strength since then. The office is led by Jan Norgaard Lauridsen, partner in charge of the Copenhagen office and managing partner for Scandinavia, with main practices including industrial, healthcare, consumer, financial services, technology, IT & telecom, and professional services.

Heidrick & Struggles acquires the team of rival Amrop in Denmark

Last week, Lauridsen revealed that the Danish arm has closed a big scoop in the country, bolting-on Amrop’s Danish team to its ranks. With nearly 80 offices in 50 countries, and a service offering that closely mirrors that of Heidrick & Struggles, the two firms are direct competitors, with Heidrick & Struggles now dealing a sensitive blow to its rival in Scandinavia. The acquisition, which is estimated at $8.4 million* and expected to close December 31, 2017, will see Amrop Denmark, including its five partners, join Heidrick & Struggles, taking the size of its Copenhagen office to a total of 37 employees, of which nine are client-facing consultants.

“Adding the Amrop Denmark team will further strengthen our ability to serve clients in the Nordic market with executive search and consulting services including organization and team effectiveness, leadership assessment and development, and culture shaping,” said Krishnan Rajagopalan, President and Chief Executive Officer of Heidrick & Struggles. He added that the firm in his eyes now is the “largest leadership advisory firm in the Danish market”, and working with its consultants based in Helsinki and Stockholm, it too has a market leading position throughout the Nordic region.

The latest move in the human resource consultancy segment shows close resemblance, albeit at a different scale, to a deal closed a few years ago in Denmark’s accountancy and advisory industry. Late 2013, the Danish consulting industry was rocked by the news that EY had acquired KPMG’s entire team in the country, to the size of around 1,500 employees, including 150 partners across 21 offices. While carve-outs of practices are commonly seen between Big Four firms, as well as member firm swaps in typically smaller countries, the size of this specific deal makes it one of the most notable M&A stories to date in the Big Four’s history in Europe. In yet another sign of the heated dynamics in Denmark’s professionals services industry, PwC  integrated Grant Thornton into its local operations two years earlier.

Complementary team and expertise

Lauridsen meanwhile highlighted the complementary nature of the skills of both teams, stating “Our new colleagues will significantly complement the expertise we bring to our clients in Denmark and throughout the Nordics. They are especially strong in financial services, FinTech and technology broadly, industrial and the public sector, while our legacy Heidrick team is strong in the industrial, healthcare and life sciences, and consumer sectors.” 

Jan Norgaard Lauridsen - Heidrick & Struggles

The former managing partner of Amrop Denmark, Peter Christiansen, said that he is delighted with the move, describing it as a win-win for the team and its clients. “More and more Danish companies want us to serve them outside Denmark in finding executives for their international operations. The global footprint and integrated operations of Heidrick & Struggles provides us with an excellent opportunity to serve our clients in all parts of the world with consistency and high-quality service.” 

Earlier this year, Heidrick & Struggles expanded its offerings in the human capital space with the launch of an own consulting business, following in the footsteps of among others Korn Ferry, which embarked on a similar journey in 2015  with the acquisition of Hay Group. Entering the market as Heidrick Consulting, the new consulting wing focuses on leadership consultancy and culture shaping.

* According to a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Heidrick & Struggles will pay $3.9 million at closing plus an estimated $4.5 million based on fee revenue generated from the business during the following two-year period.