PwC favorite in takeover Roland Berger Strategy Consultants

01 May 2013

In late March it was announced that Deloitte Consulting was close to an acquisition of Roland Berger. According to the latest reports, the transaction may, just as it did two years ago, end up with an unexpected twist. In November 2010 a deal between Deloitte and Roland Berger was called off at the last moment and now it seems as if PwC has overtaken Deloitte as the firm with the best papers to buy the global strategy consultant. This says the British newspaper The Financial Times based on sources involved in the acquisition. However, German media hint at the opposite direction, suggesting that Roland Berger Strategy Consultants is looking at all kinds of manners to remain independent.

The Financial Times states that two high ranked managers close to the situation said that PwC, the world's biggest business services provider in terms of revenue, and the German strategy consulting firm are in "close negotiations". The news is not entirely new - in early April wrote all about the fact that Ernst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC had shown interest at Roland Berger. Main difference is that E&Y and KPMG seem to have dropped off leaving Deloitte and PwC in the hotseat. PwC said it had a policy of not commenting on "rumours and speculation". Roland Berger also declined to comment.

pwc deloitte

Focus on advice

PwC's interest in boosting its presence in the consulting sector is in line with a clear trend visible in the market for consulting services. Under the influence of tariff pressure the revenue in controlling is slowly declining.

Moreover, scandals in the controlling branch of the industry are a constant source for reputation damage. The growth for the major business is in the consulting, with the result that large accountancy and consultancy firms try to acquire consulting firms or a team of consultants with some regularity.

Recent examples include the acquisition of Partake Consulting by Ernst & Young, the purchase of healthcare consulting firms Plexus and EquaTerra by KPMG and the merger between ConQuaestor and Grant Thornton. PwC recently acquired Proxyon and True Economy Consulting.

Earlier this century, parts of the consulting division were laid off by the big firms. That was in the wake of accounting scandals like Enron and Parmelat. This made the combination of consulting and auditing the same client suspicious. Deloitte was the exception, with the result that the Big4 firm in still ahead of competitors in consulting.


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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.”