Roland Berger Strategy Consultants remains independent

19 December 2013

The decision has been made: Roland Berger Strategy Consultants will remain independently. A large majority of the partner team of the strategic consulting firm voted in favour of this yesterday evening. As a result, the sale to a counterpart is averted, which allows Roland Berger to build on the actualization of the new strategy in peace.

Roland Berger underwent an extensive ‘strategic review’ in recent months. Yesterday, it was D-day – the approximately 250 partners from all over the world flew in to determine the new course of the consulting firm. Commenting on the day, CEO Burkhard Schwenker said that “several interesting options were discussed”, of which the most serious were: independence or a merger with EY.

In the run-up to the partner meeting, it was leaked that the global governance had already made its decision in fact, namely to continue independently. By the end of the day, a large majority of the partners was also convinced and the verdict carried out. Subsequently, the new strategy was discussed and the measures that need to be taken to realize the new course.

Culture clash
The decision of the partner team yet again illustrates how delicate it is for strategy consultants to give up their autonomy to large multi-service firms such as the Big4. For Roland Berger, it is the second time they vote against an acquisition – in 2010 it was against Deloitte and yesterday it was against EY. Reason for the difficulties is the clash between the two cultures. In addition, other factors make mergers complicated, such as the different way of working, the type of assignments and different salary frameworks. For example, the marriage between A.T. Kearney and EDS ended up in a disaster, and Arthur D. Little also never really found its place at Altran.

The question is: will Roland Berger's decision be a harbinger for the partners of Booz & Company? In a week’s time they will come together to vote on the bid put in by PwC, estimated to be roughly $1 billion. The global management team has already accepted the offer, and now it is up to the partners to decide on the fate of the strategy consulting firm. 

The rescue or Roland Berger will undoubtedly be received well by the strategy consulting industry, a sector which is struggling as a whole with the new market conditions. Roland Berger’s continuing to operate independently also means that Europe still has something to be proud of in the landscape that is dominated by the American giants McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Booz and A.T. Kearney. Roland Berger was founded in 1967 by a German consultant that holds the same name, and has since grown to be the only European consulting firm that globally ranks in the top 5 on the league tables.


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.”