Solidiance and YCP merge to become an Asian consulting powerhouse

09 October 2018

Two of Asia’s largest home grown consulting firms – Solidiance and YCP – have joined forces to create an Asia consulting powerhouse with over 250 consultants and staff and a presence across 20 different markets in the region. “Together, YCP and Solidiance aim to become Asia’s leading professional firm,” said the CEO’s of both consultancies, Damien Duhamel and Yuki Ishida.

Currently, the Asia Pacific region accounts for more than 17% of the globe’s management consulting industry, with a market size of $47 billion in 2017. China, Southeast Asia and Southern Asia are the main drivers behind the growing expenditure on management consultants. Recent research found that the fast growing management consulting scene in the Asia Pacific is likely to break through the $50 billion barrier by the end of this year. 

In this context, the consulting industry of the expansive region has become a key battle ground for consultancies looking to lead the growing market, and secure meteoric growth trajectories within its borders. One of the firms working hard to expand its footprint to that end is Solidiance.

Solidiance and YCP merge to become an Asian consulting powerhouse

Founded in 2006, by Damien Duhamel (the current CEO of the firm) and Heiko Bugs (COO), the firm is among Asia’s largest specialised management consulting firms, and has seen a steep growth trajectory since its inception. The company which originated as a two-man show more than a decade ago from bases in Singapore and China has grown significantly. Solidiance differentiates itself through its dedicated focus on the Middle East and in particular the Asia region, with offices spanning from Lebanon’s capital Beirut (launched early 2016) to its hubs in the Philippines (based in Manila; opened in 2013) and in Sydney (office opened this summer).

On top of this, recent acquisitions saw Solidiance’s presence grow not just across Asia, but the rest of the world too. In late 2017, the Asian origin consulting firm entered the US consulting market with the opening of a new office in San Diego – as the firm bids to make the most of US companies looking to expand into Asia’s growing economies. This was in line with the firm’s broader strategy when it comes to Western expansion, as it also has a hub in Germany dedicated to assisting businesses looking to extend their operations into Asia.

Merger of equals

Now, as Solidiance looks to further enhance its position as a gate-keeper of the Asian market, it has announced a merger of equals with YCP, a regional professional firm providing advisory services and private equity investments headquartered in Hong Kong. YCP was founded in Japan in 2011 with a view to providing multifaceted advisory services, primarily to clients in the private equity industry.

"This strategic decision will combine YCP’s strong capabilities in equity investments and advisory services with our consulting work – with the main goal to lead Asia’s management consulting industry."
– Damien Duhamel, CEO of Solidiance

YCP expanded rapidly into other Asian markets in Southeast Asia and China. They also engage in private equity investments in these markets, with key investment portfolios such as Alobaby (a leading Japanese organic skincare brand) and Teppei Syokudo (a leading Japanese F&B brand in Singapore). Japan is known as Asia’s largest consulting market, while China, India and Australia are the key growth drivers in terms of volume. As these are all markets where both YCP and Solidiance are fully present to support the clients, the merger is seen as a complementary fit, which will help both parties to secure a leading role in the market, going forward. The joined entities will serve new and existing clients across automotive, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, F&B, e-commerce, hospitality, technology and agriculture sectors.

Commenting on the deal, Yuki Ishida, Group CEO of YCP stated; "Teaming up with Solidiance will give us the opportunity to broaden our client base and service offerings in new Asian markets. Through larger geographical coverage and deeper expertise in key vertical industries, we can further assist our clients and deliver high-value impact to their businesses. We also gain new principal investment opportunities in key markets which we previously did not cover, while at the same time opening new doors for our portfolio companies.”

Damien Duhamel, CEO, Managing Partner and Co-founder of Solidiance, added, “This strategic decision will combine YCP’s strong capabilities in equity investments and advisory services with our unmatched consulting work – with the main goal to lead Asia’s management consulting industry. Together, we strive to help our clients achieve transformational growth and success in Asia by providing reliable, actionable analysis, unconventional methods and deep hands-on implementation guidance.”

Related: Solidiance continues expansion abroad while its NextContinent alliance grows.


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Deloitte and KPMG make risk and insolvency acquisitions in Australia

15 March 2019

Two of the Big Four have made purchases in Australia, with Deloitte acquiring Sydney-based risk consultants Converging Data Australia, and KPMG picking up insolvency outfit Ferrier Hodgson.

Global professional services leader Deloitte has boosted its cyber analytics capabilities through the acquisition of boutique Sydney-based risk consultancy Converging Data Australia, with the company’s co-founder and team to join Deloitte’s Risk Advisory practice. Not to be outshone, Big Four rival KPMG has made its own purchase, set to merge with leading Australian insolvency firm Ferrier Hodgson.

A leading partner in the Asia Pacific for the Splunk platform, which collects and analyses high volumes of machine-generated data for cyber security and monitoring, Converging Data Australia was founded by former UK NHS employees Stuart Hirst and Neil Murphy, and serves public and private sector clients in the financial services, healthcare and supply-chain industries across Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and the Philippines.

“Working in the areas of security, operational intelligence, and data analytics, as well as digital and IoT innovation, the Converging Data team will bring its deep domain expertise to help our clients keep pace with the continually evolving technology risk landscape,” said Deloitte’s Managing Partner for Risk Advisory, Dennis Krallis. “They will enhance and complement our existing investments in the design, build and running of bespoke Cyber Security Intelligence Operations Centres for clients.”

While Murphy continues to oversee the EMEA business of Converging Data, his co-founder Hirst has joined Deloitte as a partner in the firm’s Risk Advisory practice. “We developed our DataPaaS solution to help clients rapidly scale and optimise Splunk tools and are looking forward to combining it with Deloitte’s global team of more than 300 Splunk professionals to help more Australian businesses benefit from the insights and benefits Splunk software can bring,” Hirst said of the sale.Deloitte and KPMG make risk and insolvency acquisitions in Australia Meanwhile, fellow Big Four firm KPMG has made finalised a merger deal with Australian insolvency firm Ferrier Hodgson – with KPMG’s WA Chairman and national Restructuring Services leader Matthew Woods having reportedly informed staff of the acquisition alongside Ferrier Hodgson managing partner James Stewart. According to earlier coverage, the deal comes after months of haggling and negotiation, although no sums have been revealed.

Founded more than 40 years ago in 1976, the Sydney-headquartered Ferrier Hodgson has grown to become one of the largest specialist corporate turnaround and insolvency management firms in the Asia Pacific, with eight offices across Australia, Malaysia and Singapore and a headcount in excess of 300. As per the deal, KPMG has acquired Ferrier Hodgson’s Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth branches, with discussions with its Adelaide arm said to be well advanced.

It is still unclear how many of Ferrier Hodgson specialists will join KPMG, but the newly combined insolvency and turnaround team – to be co-led by Stewart and Woods – will feature a staff of 200-plus including 20 Ferrier Hodgson partners and 27 in total – creating one of the largest and most experienced such practices in Australia. According to the firm’s, the deal is expected to completed in June, with a dual integration committee already in place.

“We are excited about the opportunity to merge with KPMG,” said Stewart, who has been with Ferrier Hodgson for more than 30 years. “Strategically, the merger gives our team immediate access to a diverse range of skill-sets to better engineer operational turnaround and add a lot more value to clients. We believe our clients will benefit from the greater breadth of solutions available to them, and our shared values and cultural fit will ensure a smooth integration into KPMG for our people.”

“The Ferrier Hodgson team is very experienced, with a great reputation, and we are delighted to be welcoming them to the firm,” KPMG Australia’s CEO Gary Wingrove said in response. “The rationale for a merger was compelling, with KPMG and Ferrier Hodgson a great fit strategically and culturally. The combination of our operations with Ferrier Hodgson will immediately and significantly strengthen the breadth and level of service we can offer our clients in the restructuring and forensic advisory sphere.”

Related: EY acquires Australian SAP consultancy Plaut IT and Malaysian subsidiary