Accenture: Making Sense of the Recent Acquisitions

Added 2019-03-31

Acquisitions are the part-and-parcel of Accenture’s business model. The company has been very aggressive in its acquisition strategy making it hard for analysts to keep up with new developments. For fiscal 2019, Accenture has a war chest of $1.5 billion, so we expect many more announcements during the year. Here is the breakdown of some recent acquisitions Accenture made.

On December 20, Accenture completed acquisition of Adaptly, while on March 15 the company acquired Storm Digital. New York City-based Adaptly offers an integrated solution to digital marketing on Amazon, Facebook, Google, Instagram, Snapchat, and other platforms. Netherlands-based Storm Digital is focused on search, social and programmatic advertising services and boasts KLM, Uber, Volkswagen, ABN AMRO, and among its clients. Both acquisitions will strengthen Accenture Interactive Programmatic Services - a new division, launched in May 2018, offering three core services: Programmatic Consulting and In-housing; Media Strategy, Planning & Activation; and Ad Tech Implementation & Support. Programmatic advertising is the application of software algorithms to increase targeting and efficiency of digital advertising. Zenith Agency forecasts that programmatic advertising’s share of digital ads spending will reach 65% in 2019.  

On January 17, Accenture acquired Knowledgent: a New Jersey-based company that provides data strategy and architecture, data engineering, and data management services with emphasis on the life sciences, healthcare and financial services industries. The acquisition fits nicely with Accenture’s 'digital enterprise' selling point: Accenture claims that "to improve the bottom line and seize new growth opportunities,” companies need to “adopt digital business models and operations—not just digital processes."

On February 14, Accenture acquired Switzerland-based Orbium: the largest services provider for the Avaloq Banking Suite, a leading digital and core banking software. This acquisition also fits well with Accenture’s 'digital enterprise' concept. In addition, according to Deloitte’s International Wealth Management Centre Ranking, Switzerland has the largest International Market Volume in the world. The metric refers to assets of companies residing outside of a country managed within said country. Orbium is well positioned to strengthen Accenture’s wealth management business.

On March 04, Accenture acquired ?What If!, a UK-based company focused on helping companies to become more innovative using experimentation-driven approach. The acquisition will strengthen Accenture’s Innovation Architecture: multifaceted framework focused on helping companies "develop and deliver disruptive innovations, and to scale them faster." Accenture has recently opened innovation hubs in San Francisco, Fukuoka, Atlanta, and Toronto. The United Kingdom remains an important market for Accenture and ?What If!’s work with FTSE 100 companies will strengthen that.

On March 05, Accenture has agreed to acquire Ireland-based Enterprise System Partners, a consulting company focused on manufacturing execution systems (MES) and serialization in the life sciences industry. MES analyse production processes and helps to automate them, while serialization refers to digital tracing of saleable units, an important measure in combating proliferation of counterfeit drugs. ESP will join Accenture Industry X.0 division. Accenture describes Industry X.0 concept as "a new path to digitally transform your business through smart, connected and living technologies."

On March 29, Accenture acquired Hjaltelin Stahl, a Danemark-based creative agency focused on customer experience. The company claims to "get logic and magic to merge into well-thought-out and penetrating communication across more media and channels than ever." Accenture describes itself as "The Experience Agency”, while Anatoly Roytman, managing director of Accenture Interactive for Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, has publicly expressed company’s ambition "to be world's biggest 'experience agency of record'." Hjaltelin Stahl will add nicely to that.

David P. Rowland, Accenture’s CFO, on Q4 2018 Earnings call stated that the company’s strategy is to use "inorganic [growth] as an engine of organic growth." Accenture projects 1.5% inorganic growth for fiscal 2019. On one hand, all acquisitions Accenture has recently made seem pinpoint, but on the other hand, one might wonder if the company is capable to keep such frantic pace and not suffer in terms of integration and synergies. Time will tell.

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