BCG buys stake in matchmaking platform Opportunity Network

18 April 2016

BCG has intensified its partnership with Opportunity Network. Through the deal, the consulting firm gains a minority stake in the matchmaking platform for banking executives and dealmakers, as well as sees one of its senior partners join the company’s board. In return the Opportunity Network gains access to BCG’s wider banking network, opening a rich seam of potential new users of its platform.

Opportunity Network was set up in 2014. The company operates a platform through which banking clients can look for trustworthy partners to support them expand into new markets, execute cross-border mergers and acquisitions, sell privately held enterprises, and maximise asset utilisation. In addition, the FinTech player helps partner banks gain insights into their clients’ expansion plans and appetites for M&A activities. The member-based platform* is open for any deal above $1 million, spanning M&As, partnerships and ventures, has so far served thousands of companies across 78 countries, in the process hosting over $30 billion in opportunity deal flow.

The firm – based in New York, London, Barcelona and Dubai – recently announced that it has struck a strategic partnership with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), one of the globe’s largest and most prestigious management consultancies. The consulting firm was already actively supporting the company, having participating in its latest funding round. As part of the deal, BCG gains a minority stake in the company, and one of BCG’s senior partners, Lionel Aré, joins the Board of Directors of the Opportunity Network.

Aré has been with BCG since 1991, when he joined the firm’s French office. He currently served as a Senior Partner and leads BCG’s Global Financial Institutions Practice. Commenting on the deal, Aré says that the Opportunity Network offers a “very attractive value proposition for banks, and we’re happy to provide this opportunity to our clients.” He adds: “In partnering with Opportunity Network, we are looking to address an important issue: the fact that many midsize businesses and private investors lack the tools and networks of contacts needed to grow, which in turn reduces opportunities for the commercial banks and wealth managers that serve them.”

The partners have hit the ground running to drum up new business for the network. The two parties have already jointly opened discussions with corporate- and private-banking divisions of leading financial institutions. According to the partners, “banks are expressing enthusiasm for the opportunity to provide their top clients with access to Opportunity Network’s platform.”

Brian Pallas, CEO and founder of Opportunity Network, says that the partnership with BCG will allow financial institutions to “strengthen their relationships with their clients by enabling them to find trustworthy business counterparts worldwide at the click of a button.” Pallas continues: “Companies must gain access to trustworthy partners in an effective and efficient way. Their banks must serve them as they execute deals at the speed of continuously changing markets. Digital technology can now play a leading role in expanding the global economic system by supporting both companies and the financial industry.”

Prior to founding Opportunity Network, Pallas worked for five years at BCG. Based in Milan, Italy, he dealt with a variety of projects, both strategic and operational across several sectors including consumer goods, retail, banking, insurance, energy, and media. Pallas, who recently was named one of Italy’s most promising professionals under 35, also gained experience in Private Equity and Investment Banking.

* Members are invited only through reputable financial, legal, and professional services firms that ensure the reliability of the members.


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.”