Snapshot for week beginning 13 June. Accenture, the consulting giant that has announced 65 deals in the past two years, has entered into an agreement to acquire French strategy and management advisory firm Exton Consulting.

Exton offers strategy and business management consulting for financial services clients across Europe.

Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

Accenture plc is an Irish-domiciled multinational company that provides consulting and processing services. A Fortune Global 500 company, it reported revenues of $44.33bn in 2020 and had 537,000 employees.

Exton Consulting is one of France’s top 5 consulting firms in strategy and management in financial services. Founded in 2006 and headquartered in Paris, Exton helps executive boards at major banks and insurance companies successfully manage growth and transformation projects in various markets across Europe.

The team of approximately 150 professionals would join Accenture’s Financial Services industry group and strengthen its ability to offer innovative end-to-end solutions to a broader range of financial services companies.

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Acquisition is “part of our overall growth strategy”

Olivier Girard, market unit lead for Accenture France & Benelux, said:

“Our intent to acquire Exton Consulting is part of our overall growth strategy to expand critical skills and capabilities in strategic, high-growth areas of the market.

“It underscores our commitment to the financial services industry, which is facing unprecedented transformation driven by economic and geopolitical uncertainties, regulatory challenges, digital transformation, urgency to reinvent the client experience, and the need to rethink operating models.

“This acquisition would cement Accenture’s standing as a leading Strategy & Consulting firm for Financial Services clients in France and beyond, taking our innovative end-to-end solutions to new levels of speed and scale.”

Acquisition is a quick way to snap up skills and ideas

Accenture has announced at least 65 takeovers over the past two years, more than any other major business, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It’s snapping up a target every week and a half on average, keeping it busier than private-equity giants like Blackstone and KKR.

While most of the deals are small, the pace has been relentless and seems to be accelerating: It’s not rare for Accenture to announce two transactions in a single day.

On March 1, it unveiled three deals, buying an Australian supply chain consultancy, a Brazilian robotics firm and a U.K. leadership development business.

The company is having to move faster to keep an edge in the digital technologies that are transforming business, and takeovers are a quick way to soak up talent and ideas.

Investors appear to approve of the tactic — Accenture shares have surged 42% in New York trading in the past 12 months, giving it a market value of $171.6bn.

“Our acquisition strategy is an engine to fuel organic growth”

It expects to spend at least $1.7bn on acquisitions in fiscal 2021, Chief Financial Officer KC McClure said on an earnings call in December.

That number is ticking up — the consulting and outsourcing giant spent about $1.5bn in 2020 and $1.2bn in 2019, according to previous earnings calls.

Accenture has been increasingly cited as a rival by companies like WPP and S4 Capital in the advertising sector, with corporate clients demanding joined-up services from marketing through to e-commerce and business restructuring.

“Our acquisition strategy, which is an engine to fuel organic growth, remains focused on scaling our business where we see a big market opportunity, adding skills and capabilities in key strategic areas, and deepening our industry and functional expertise,” an Accenture spokeswoman said in an emailed statement.

The firm booked revenues of $44.3bn in the latest financial year and employed about 506,000 people as of Aug. 31, according to its most recent annual report.

What’s in the deal for the French firm?

The acquisition of Exton Consulting requires prior consultation with the relevant works councils and is subject to customary closing conditions.

Philippe Derambure, co-founder of Exton Consulting, said:

“For 15 years, Exton Consulting’s team has been supporting the Financial Services sector companies in their transformation, from strategy to implementation.

“Today, driven by the digitalisation of the economy different spheres of business advisory are now coming together. We are excited about the opportunity to join Accenture, which would allow us to accelerate our strategy.

“The combination of innovation, technology and data skills with our expertise would help us offer highly differentiated, end-to-end services to an even-broader client base, both existing and future.”