PA completes fourth acquisition in 12 months with We Are Friday deal

07 December 2018

Global professional services firm PA Consulting Group has completed a deal to acquire specialist digital agency We Are Friday for an undisclosed fee. The move comes at the end of a 12-month spending spree by the British origin PA, having purchased four companies since a major private equity investment in the firm.

Before late 2017, PA Consulting had not completed a major acquisition since 2012. Following a much-needed investment in the employee-owned firm by private equity firm Carlyle, however, the firm enjoyed a new lease of life, and was quick to put the funding to work. Over the last 12 months, PA has completed four purchases, as it seeks to supplement organic growth with an aggressive expansion campaign.

This first saw PA sign Nyras at the turn of the year, expanding the firm’s aviation consulting offering in the process. PA would not wait a further five years for its next purchase, either, and followed this up with the acquisition of digital consultancy Sparkler in mid-2018. Later in the year, PA made it a hat-trick with the purchase of innovation strategy company Essential Design. The additions significantly boosted PA’s fee income, and as the firm looks to maintain its momentum, it has completed its fourth deal in the space of 12 months.PA completes fourth acquisition in 12 months with We Are Friday dealWe Are Friday was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in London. The specialist digital service design and engineering agency works with leading global organisations, helping them re-imagine and design their customer experience, improve the technology that powers their organisation and develop the capability to better manage their technology. The firm’s clients include Aetna, Nuffield Health, Jackson Hewitt, TalkTalk and the British Red Cross, among others.

Following the deal, We Are Friday will join PA’s innovation team, enhancing its existing expertise in digital service design, modern engineering and digital transformation. The full terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Friday’s founding partners, CEO Alex Wright and CTO/COO Chris Walker, said, “We’re passionate about making organisations work brilliantly for people, by transforming them digitally from the ground up. We design digital services and build digital products to help organisations innovate and transform, and to make their customer experience a source of competitive advantage. As part of PA, we can do this for more clients, at greater depth and scale, and with greater impact by applying the complementary expertise and capabilities PA offers.”

PA Consulting’s Digital Team Leader, Jiten Kachhela, commented, “We offer market-leading, end-to-end digital expertise to clients around the world and the Friday team will add further scale and depth to our existing capability in customer experience and service design, digital transformation and technology innovation. The arrival of Friday is an exciting addition to PA and supports our Purpose: ‘We believe in the power of ingenuity to build a positive human future in a technology-driven world’.”

PA has enjoyed a year of continued expansion for its Digital operations in the UK. Earlier in 2018, it announced the broadening of its Northern Irish team in September, creating up to 400 jobs in Belfast over the next five years.


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.”