Consultancy firm Ameo joins technology group The Panoply

30 March 2020 Consultancy.uk

Business consultancy Ameo has been acquired by The Panoply, an AIM-listed technology group for a total consideration of £7.0 million in cash and shares. 

With offices in Colmore Gate in Birmingham and Studley in Warwickshire, and a team of around 30 consultants and staff, Ameo is a mid-sized business change consultancy firm. Since founding in 2010, the firm has worked with over 100 clients across topics including operating model design, process optimisation, customer excellence, digital transformation and innovation.

Joining forces with The Panoply (‘Panoply’) will according to Ameo Director Ben Ward enable the consultancy to drive further growth and impact. “This deal will take us to the next stage in our evolution by expanding our existing service capabilities and expertise to bring new leading-edge solutions to our clients’ challenges, particularly across service redesign, robotic process automation and applied artificial intelligence.”

Meanwhile, for Panoply, the move grows its advisory offering, adding a suite of high-end services to its portfolio, while also adding a CxO / senior management client base to its footprint. The bolt-on, which comes nine months after the acquisition of FutureGov, in particular bolsters its public sector practice – in its latest financial year, public sector work represented over 90% of Ameo’s revenues.

Ameo joins technology group The Panoply

“Ultimately, this acquisition increases our relevance and puts us in a stronger position to target and win larger, more strategic engagements at the heart of the UK public sector,” said Neal Gandhi, the chief executive officer of Panoply.

“Our focus is to deliver positive, sustainable change in the public sector and Ameo's track record of work in central and local government, healthcare and higher education broadens our capability to achieve this goal for our clients,” he added. Following the deal, public services revenues will account for roughly 70% of Panoply’s turnover.

The move comes at a time of booming demand (and need) for digital transformation services across the public landscape. The advent of digital technologies is increasingly placing new demands and expectations on the public sector, and under the Government Digital agenda, all levels of the sector are seeking to advance their digital maturity.

Alongside improving internal efficiencies, digital offers the government a plethora of means to benefits services and products to people and businesses, from easing administrative and taxation processes and the provision of information to driving digital-driven enhancements that positively benefit public safety or economic activity.

Capgemini’s ‘2019 eGovernment Benchmark’ however found that UK’s government still has a considerable way to go in its digital journey, lagging the performance of digital leaders such as Denmark, Estonia and the Netherlands. To this end, Gandhi said the public sector needed to continue its digital transformation journey with urgency, encouraging staff to embrace modern ways of working and speeding up the adoption of cloud platforms.

“Combined with our business, the change delivery capability of Ameo provides the basis for winning increasingly large digital transformation projects in the public sector.”
– Neal Gandhi, CEO of The Panoply
 

The shareholders of Ameo, which a debt free, have received £2.2 million in cash and to the tune of 5.9 million newly issued shares in Panoply, lifting the company’s total issued share capital to 55.1 million. Additionally, upon completion of the transaction the technology outfit will pay a further £1.3 million. 

Dealmakers

The deal was advised on by M&A consultants from several professional services firms. Smith Cooper Corporate Finance served as financial advisor to Ameo – dealmakers Darren Hodson and Tom Joy helped the business prepare for its sale, with identifying the right partner and with the financial side of the transaction. Legal support to the buyer was provided by Harrison Clark Rickerbys (Tim Ward and Peter Raybould).

Buyer Panoply was advised on by Charles Leveque and Chien-wei Lui from London based law firm Harbottle & Lewis.

The deal closes a busy month for dealmakers in the consulting industry. According to the M&A database of Consultancy.org, over 30 deals closed in March alone, including the acquisition of telecom consultancy Allolio & Konrad by UK-headquartered Analysys Mason and the purchase of social impact consultancy Purpose by Capgemini Invent.


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