Operations consultancies Argon Consulting and Crimson & Co merge

02 May 2018 Consultancy.uk 6 min. read
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British management consultancy Crimson & Co has merged with French firm Argon, to create a new global group. The combined entity will look to combine Argon’s consulting and operations transformation prowess with the international reach of the supply chain focused Crimson.

Crimson & Co was established in 2003 as a breakaway from PwC’s operations consulting arm – aimed at growing its international presence in the wake of a new growth strategy as a response to the growing globalisation of consulting services. After agreeing partnerships with both The Progress Group, a consultancy with offices in the US and India, and Supply Chain Cover, an Australia-based player, in 2014, the firm grew its global footprint, to the extent the Kings Cross-based supply chain consultancy now boasts offices in London, Atlanta, Mumbai, Melbourne, and Singapore.

Continuing Crimson & Co’s strategy of boosting international growth via consulting alliances, the firm has announced that it is to merger with French firm Argon Consulting. Argon Consulting’s 160 consultants will bring experience not only in operational transformation projects focused on the Supply Chain and Logistics functions, but also in R&D, Procurement, Manufacturing, Support Functions, Client Relations, Change Management, among other areas. Most recently this saw the firm branch into the lucrative digital innovations space (IoT, Data Science, Process Automation) – all areas which strengthen the previous offering of Crimson & Co’s supply chain advisory services, while offering a root into international markets for Argon, via Crimson’s expansive network. The deal will create an international business employing more than 230 consultants, headed up by Argon founder Yvan Salamon, who will be President of the combined business.

UK consultancy Crimson & Co merges with France's Argon Consulting

The news of the merger comes after Crimson & Co has realised international expansion in recent years, while Argon Consulting has enjoyed a sustained period of year-on-year growth, growing from 50 consultants in 2011 to today's 160 consultants prior to the merger. The new group has ambitious plans, with the aim to grow further internationally, opening more offices around the world and providing on-the-ground capability and in-market expertise from local consultants, in regions where clients want them to be.

Speaking on the deal, Yvan Salamon commented, “In recent years, diversification of its offer has been key to Argon Consulting’s development, resulting in coverage of the entire operational value chain. For its part, Crimson & Co has succeeded in growing and promoting its brand and expertise across the world. The merger with Crimson & Co is a fantastic opportunity to support our clients in all kinds of operational transformations on a truly global scale. The consistency of values between the two businesses and our shared commitment to the development of our teams’ expertise were important factors in our decision.”

Richard Powell, co-founder of Crimson & Co, added, “We are looking forward to building on Crimson & Co’s established global footprint and reputation for best-in-class operations consultancy around the world. We have been thinking for some time about how to broaden and deepen our market offering to support clients more comprehensively, particularly in the areas of digital and finance, and the merger with Argon Consulting provides the opportunity to do this, enhancing our ability to support clients and their operational transformations.”

Industry trend

Crimson & Co was advised on the deal by audit, tax and consulting services provider RSMSpeaking on the merger, James Wild, Corporate Finance Partner at RSM, said, “Crimson & Co is an ambitious business with a sterling reputation in the market place. This merger is a perfect fit for both companies, as they strive to create a truly global brand recognised for excellence in class.’’

Meanwhile, law firm DWF’s Manchester-based corporate team acted for Argon on the deal. The team was lead by national head of corporate, Frank Shephard, who advised alongside senior associates Darren Ormsby and James Cashman and solicitors Francesca Kinsella and Andrew Carr.

Shephard commented said, “We’re pleased to have advised Argon Consulting on its next stage of growth which will see the business extend its global reach and increase its offering with the expertise of Crimson & Co."

Quote Yvan Salamon

Anglo-French alliances

Elsewhere, the management consulting domain has recently seen a number of Anglo-French alliances. Other UK-France tie ups have seen Wavestone acquire Xceed Group, three years after the Paris headquartered company entered the UK through the purchase of London's Hudson & Yorke. Last year, the French arm of strategy consultancy EY--Parthenon bought the Paris office of OC&C Strategy Consultants, while Sia Partners in 2016 bought UK's Molten.

Meanwhile, a number of British firms have been engulfed by larger German entities. Recently, this saw Moorhouse merged into a larger company by Assystem Technologies subsidiary SQS, while in a following blow to British-based strategy consultancy OC&C, the firm saw its German wing prised away from it by EY-Parthenon (then trading as Parthenon-EY).