Oliver Wyman acquires UK agency Draw, adds 50 experts to digital arm

10 January 2018 Consultancy.uk

Britain-based digital transformation agency Draw has been acquired by Oliver Wyman. The consulting firm will add Draw to its expanding digital agency, Oliver Wyman Labs, as the consulting world continues to park tanks on the lawn of the advertising and design industry.

The consulting industry has increasingly encroached on the territory of the design and advertising world in recent times. Over the course of 2017, Accenture, McKinsey and Deloitte were among a number of top firms buying smaller agencies to create and enhance their own digital or interactive wings. While advertising giants WPP claimed, in an Autumn report, that the footprint of consultancies in the advertising world had been “wildly overestimated”, this trend is showing no signs of slowing in 2018.

Global management consultancy Oliver Wyman has completed the acquisition of Draw, a digital transformation agency. The 50 experts employed by Draw will now become part of Oliver Wyman Labs, part of the firm's growing digital practice, boosting capabilities in digital strategy, user experience design, web development, CRM, and front and backend development. Launched in 2014, the Labs unit presently supports clients bidding to unleash the power of the data that they already have or could capture, driving competitive advantage and sustained impact.Oliver Wyman acquires UK agency Draw, adds 50 experts to digital armLondon-based Draw aims to use design to enable clients to obtain better outcomes in the market. The firm’s website states that it helps a diverse range of customers, from lawyers in London looking to improve their press reach, to consultants in New York looking for the next generation of digital solutions, and even including charities in Africa looking to better communicate how they’re saving children from diseases. According to draw’s own data, it obtains dramatic improvements in the results of its clients. After engaging Draw, the Royal Albert Hall saw a 2,761% increase in Facebook followers, high street clothing brand F&F saw a 458% increase in mobile users engaging their site, and McArthur Glen Designer Outlets benefitted from a 40% boost to their site visitors.

The deal sees Draw and Oliver Wyman finally bound together, having successfully collaborated on projects across the world for a number of years. These have included the creation of digital banks, a digital utility, and a self-service automated lending portal. Draw also led the re-design of Oliver Wyman’s website last year, which recently won the W3 and Web Awards. The purchase further adds to Oliver Wyman’s acquisition of LShift, a software development company also based in London. That deal saw LShift's expertise integrated into Oliver Wyman Labs, further boosting the firm's ability to help clients leverage their data troves for actionable insights.

Commenting on the move for Draw, Paul Beswick, Global Head of Oliver Wyman’s Digital Practice, said, “Draw have been incredible partners in many of our most transformational projects. We are delighted that they have chosen to join us formally and look forward to jointly developing our digital capabilities. Together we will be better able to help clients create differentiated digital experiences, magnetic applications, and to support their most ambitious new business ventures.”

Fred Brown, Group Managing Director of Draw, added, "As the market pivots away from the traditional network agency model, and we see management consultants enhancing their digital capability, we are tremendously excited to be joining Oliver Wyman. We regard them as the very best in their field; a combination of the calibre of Oliver Wyman people, the quality of their work and the respect they have for culture and creativity. The work we have been doing together in the last three years is truly transformational, and proves that the whole really can be greater than the sum of its parts.”

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SQW Group purchases property-based regeneration consultancy

19 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

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.”