Skip to content
The Consultancy Growth Network

Who’s buying who in consulting

Bruce Ramsay’s webinar about recent trends in M&A transactions in the consulting sector offered a fascinating insight into the facts and figures of who’s been buying who since 2017, including what’s been going on since the outbreak of covid-19 in early 2020. 

Encouragingly, Bruce noted the slight upturn in M&A transaction deals in the consulting sector in June 2020 compared to the previous few months – an observation he followed a month later with his own announcement that one of his consultancy clients had been acquired. 

In case you don’t know Bruce, after a successful consulting career he spent 10 years with Equiteq, the M&A firm, before forming Consulting M&A last year. He is not aware of anyone else in the sector who has had direct involvement in more consulting sales transactions in the UK than him, so he was the perfect host to dispel some myths and offer some practical, actionable advice to our members whether they are actively looking to sell or preparing for a potential sale in the future.  


Bruce unveiled all sorts of data about M&A deals in the UK consulting sector from 2017 to June 2020. The breadth of intelligence he covered included key metrics about buyers such as where they are located, what type of firm they are (financial, IT, consulting, media and so on) and the names of some of the serial PE investors in consulting. He explained that the volume of private equity buyers, or those backed by private equity firms, is growing. “Although the majority of buyers are similar organisations to the one being bought,” he added, “through M&A we’re also seeing the merging between management consulting, IT consulting, digital and media.”

It’s broadly accepted that the biggest serial buyer in the UK is Accenture, but Bruce highlighted the fact that 70% of the deals in the last three and a half years were by acquirers who only bought once in the UK during that period. “So the chances are that you’re not likely to sell to a regular acquirer,” he pointed out.

He went on to dispel a common myth on the same topic:


Bruce also shared some insights into the ways consulting businesses are valued in preparation for a sale, and explained the merits of each.

The video clip below shows Bruce explaining the three key forces that drive the value of your consulting business when you’re looking to sell:

As with all our webinars, there were lots of questions from attendees that Bruce generously answered. One touched on whether Bruce thought it important to have a senior management team in place before a deal. Another wondered what owners who are not looking to sell should be doing now to maximise any opportunities that might come their way later on.

Thank you to Bruce for his insightful webinar. For access to the full recording, and all our others, become a member of The Consultancy Growth Network today.

Article | Strategy and leadership

Written by

Ali El Moghraby

Head of Marketing

The Consultancy Growth Network