Alten Using Mid-Sized Acquisitions to Counterbalance the Pandemic Impact Alten had told investors it would increase
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ER&D services largest pure-play, Alten, has ambitions as a clinical trials contract research organization (CRO). During Q2 2021, the company completed the acquisition of Cmed. Cmed, a clinical trial CRO based in the UK. It is a small firm with EUR 20m in revenues and 180 consultants. It has specialized in oncology, immuno-oncology, cell therapy, and rare disease.
It has been five years since Sweco made its last significant acquisition. In 2015, the company took over Grontmij, which brought 6,000 employees and revenues of EUR 659m.
ER&D vendors continue to be very active in M&As, with many tuck-in acquisitions. AFRY is now in full acquisition mode with six transactions in 2021 YTD. Competitor Sweco has also accelerated with four transactions. Accenture has made an unusual transaction by taking over a manufacturer of industrial automation and robots in Brazil for Accenture Industry X. Finally, Cognizant acquired a significant German automotive ER&D vendor, ESG.
Assystem is betting on the long-term with its 99% acquisition of an Indian engineering firm, STUP Consultants. STUP is headquartered in Mumbai, had revenues of approximately EUR 20m and a headcount of 1.1k. It provides transport infrastructure engineering services, mostly around highways, railways, metros, and airports. The company is also present in water treatment and energy engineering.
French ER&D service vendor, Segula Technologies, acquired the automotive unit of Safran Engineering Services in Valladolid, Spain. The acquired unit is small (with a headcount of 81 engineers). It mostly services Renault.
In the past three years, Cognizant has been building Softvision as a new EPAM. Like EPAM, Softvision has grown very fast: Softvision 10-12k employees currently, from 2.8k employees at the time of its acquisition in late 2018.
Charles River Labs (CRL) will gain further expertise for biotechs. The company is to acquire San Francisco-based Distributed Bio, a large molecules specialist firm focusing on antibody discovery. Distributed Bio will become part of CRL’s core R&D business, Discovery & Safety Assessment.
We rarely talked about Denmark-based NNIT. The company is the former IT captive of Danish pharmaceutical firm Novo Nordisk, thus the name NNIT, which stands for Novo Nordisk IT.
Tuck-in M&As continued despite the pandemic and the pending US elections today, with Belcan, AFRY, and Semcon active in the past week.
Sweco’s latest acquisition raises many questions. The company acquired a Norwegian architect firm, TAG Arkitekter (TAG).
Wipro joined many competitors in acquiring a semiconductor engineering specialist. ER&D service vendors are rushing into this market, attracted by its long-term growth potential. Indeed, we estimate to ten the number of semi-conductor M&As since 2015. Altran, through the Aricent, GlobalEdge, and SciConTech transactions, has been the most acquisitive. However, all the industry’s brand names have been active, e.g., Tech Mahindra, HCL Tech, Alten, LTTS, and Cyient.
Accenture made another acquisition for Industry X. The new firm acquired by Accenture is named Myrtle Consulting and is headquartered in Houston, TX. We estimate its headcount to below 200. It is a consultancy firm.
Alten will accelerate its M&A activity in 2020. This is one of the tactical changes that the company announced during its H1 2020 results presentation. The company is also shifting its commercial effort to financial services, energy, and life science, and slightly accelerating its offshore deployment.
Infosys made a rare acquisition in the world of ER&D with Kaleidoscope Innovation. Kaleidoscope is headquartered in Cincinnati, OH, has a headcount of 60 and revenues of USD 21m in calendar 2019. Infosys is paying USD 42m.
In August, CRL acquired a small firm, Cellero, headquartered close to Boston for USD 38m. Cellero brought a geography presence to HEMA (which is based in California).
Cyient is to acquire Melbourne-based Integrated Global Partners (IG Partners) for AUD 12m in cash (USD 9m) + earn-outs. IG Partners is a mining business and organizational consulting firm. The company has a specialty in enterprise asset management. It had in FY20 revenues of AUD 15m (USD 11m) and a headcount of 40.
Ricardo divested, as expected, its engine testing and prototype facility in Belleville, MI. The company had looked for a buyer for more than one year and even bought the property to make the sale of the facility easier.
Assystem made a tuck-in acquisition with British risk management firm, Corporate Risk Associates (RCA). As its name suggests, RCA is a risk consultancy that is active across several sectors (including nuclear, oil & gas, defense).
Accenture made a rare acquisition in PLM services for its Industry X.0 unit. The company is to acquire a Torino-headquartered PTC partner, PLM Systems. PLM Systems is a small firm and has 30 consultants
Accenture made another acquisition for its Industry X.0 unit. The newly acquired firm is Callisto Integration, an industrial IT specialist that is headquartered in Oakville, Ontario.
Despite the stock market melt-down, ER&D vendors have continued to make tuck-in acquisitions in the past two weeks. The acquired firms were of small size and not likely to impact the net debt of their new owners. However, should the Covid-19-China-US trade-war-Stock Markets meltdown-oil price crisis degenerate into a recession, we expect suck tuck-in acquisitions to become scarce.
The US Federal Reserve yesterday lowered “the target range for the federal funds” by 50 bps to 1%-1.25%. Although the “fundamentals of the US economy remain strong,” “the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity,” communicated the Fed.