EY Advisory buys analytics expert Bluestone Consulting

06 October 2015 Consultancy.uk

The Advisory business of EY has acquired Bluestone Consulting, an analytics and big data consultancy based in France. The deal boosts EY’s capabilities in the analytics space, bringing the total number of data scientists in France to 130.

With approximately 850 consultants, EY Advisory is one of the largest consultancy houses in France. Similar to performance across other Western regions in Europe, the Advisory practice has in recent years been the strongest performing unit of the Big Four. In FY12 the French country organisation of EY booked a revenue of €753 million, and at the time Advisory accounted for 33% of the total*. Three solid overall years down the line the total fee income has grown by more than €100 million to €855 million, with Advisory now at €317 million, taking a 37% share of the pie. In comparison, the revenue of EY Advisory UK sits at £584 million, while Advisory (+TAS) in the Netherlands earns €134 million. 

Revenue development of EY France

In the FY12 to FY15 time period, Advisory grew by 27% in France, outperforming the other functions by a distance. Globally EY posted revenues of $28.7 billion this year, up 11% on the previous year, with Advisory the star performer (+17%), bringing its total to $7.3 billion, a quarter of the total. An analysis by Consultancy.uk last year showed that Advisory’s growth has been impressively consistent. In 2008 the management and IT consultancy unit racked in “just” $3.8 billion in income, implying that EY Advisory has nearly doubled in the space of seven years. 

Looking ahead EY Advisory’s ambition is arguably even more challenging – in December last year Norman Lonergan, Global Vice Chair for EY Advisory, unveiled that the giant wants to double revenue in the next five years, leaving little room for the advisory, consulting and transaction teams to rest on their laurels. Achieving such growth purely organically is close to impossible, Lonergan acknowledges, and not surprisingly acquisitions are playing an integral part in EY’s pursuit of bumper growth. In recent months several acquisitions have been concluded, including Seren and Integrc in Europe, C3 Business Solutions in Australia and Entegreat in North America. From a size and prestige point of view, The Parthenon Group – picked up in July last year – represents the most important purchase over the past years.

EY Advisory buys Bluestone Consulting

In France EY has now added to the acquisition spree in the advisory space. This morning the firm revealed that it has bought Bluestone Consulting, a Paris based consultancy established in 1996 that provides data visualisation and statistical engineering techniques to businesses’ operations in the marketing, finance and risk domains. The deal represents the third transaction for EY Advisory France in the last two years. In July last year Lyon-based S.C.A. Consult joined EY’s ranks, while a year prior to that Greenwich Consulting was acquired. 80 of the in total 130 advisors of Greenwich Consulting were based in France and joined the French operations.

With the addition of Bluestone Consulting, EY boosts its data analytics capabilities in France and the broader EMEIA region, says Andrew Embury, EY Advisory Leader EMEIA. “The acquisition of Bluestone Consulting comes at a crucial time as today’s organisations are becoming increasingly data driven and are looking to harness data and analytics to make better decisions and accelerate their business performance. By combining our strengths, EY will be in a stronger position to help our clients address their big, complex business issues.”

Arnaud Laroche, Xavier de Boissieu and Pierre Capelle, Karim Ben Djemiaa, Andrew Embury

As part of the integration, former Bluestone Consulting leaders Arnaud Laroche, Xavier de Boissieu and Pierre Capelle have joined EY in France and will lead the new combined team along with EY’s Karim Ben Djemiaa. According to Laroche, who previously led Bluestone Consulting, the joining of forces with EY will provide his firm and its employees the opportunity to do what it has been doing for the past 15 years “on a much bigger stage.”

The deal also comes at a time when the French consulting market is recovering from a poor run. The market is now valued at slightly more than €4 billion, says analyst firm Source for Consulting, with Technology the largest segment at €1.4 billion. The fastest growing segment however is finance & risk. 

* Note that in France EY defines Advisory slightly different compared to other markets, such as for instance the UK and Netherlands. EY France’s revenue of Advisory combines traditional management and IT consultancy with accounting advisory and the TAS practice, which encompasses among other corporate finance and restructuring.


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.”