Welcome to the Technology Services Perspective – Q3 2019 – Results International’s quarterly market update of technology services M&A activity and valuations. In the last 12 months, Results International has advised on high-value transactions across all of these disruptive subsectors (performance marketing, data & analytics, software development, automation, cloud services etc.).
The subsectors we track include (i) Customer Engagement (marketing & eCommerce, website UX and performance marketing), (ii) Applications (key vendor systems integrators, software development, data & analytics and mobile), (iii) Infrastructure (managed services, automation, cloud services and VARs), (iv) AI and (v) cybersecurity services. Separately, we cover the broader marketing services market (beyond the customer engagement categories mentioned above) in our quarterly infographics which you can find here and security software in our quarterly CyberScope which you can find here.
Technology services M&A activity and valuation highlights:
- Accenture appointed Julie Sweet as its fifth CEO since their IPO in 2001, and was once again the most active acquirer across a busy quarter. Accenture made six acquisitions across customer engagement, applications and infrastructure, with a continued focus on high-growth, transformative areas across the technology services landscape. Among these were:
- Insitum, a US-based brand development and digital strategy agency
- Analytics8, an Australia-based data and analytics consultancy
- Northstream, an IoT and comms software integrator
- While many of the major networks are investing in their data aggregation capabilities (Dentsu/ Merkle, IP/ Axciom, and Publicis/ Epsilon), WPP reversed the trend as it divested 60% of its data-driven marketing insights business Kantar to Bain Capital, valuing the business at $4.0bn and 8.2x EBITDA. This was the largest of the many companies WPP has disposed of or merged since Martin Sorrell departed in Q2 2018.
- Intelligent Automation (IA) was again a focus as consultancies compete for scaled service providers. In July, Deloitte acquired Australia-based Eclair Group, a Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and machine learning consultancy. The IA sector has seen increasing M&A activity as a host of well-funded, hyper-growth automation software companies (led by UiPath, Blue Prism and Automation Anywhere) are disrupting the global services market, thereby creating huge demand for skilled implementation partners.
- For the third consecutive quarter, the number of unique buyers grew (190, up from 184 in Q2). Driven by new and disruptive technologies (cloud, AI, automation, IoT) and clients accelerating their digital transformation agendas, a wider range of buyer groups are seeking to add strategically important capabilities.
The technology services sector is incredibly active with a wide buyer universe, and the outlook is exciting. As such, now is a good time to be contemplating fundraising, exit, or growth through acquisition in the space – if you are, please do get in touch.Read Less