EY buys Adelphi, adds 170 staff in Australia, Singapore and Thailand

17 November 2018 Consultancy.asia

EY, one of the globe’s four largest accounting and consulting groups, has beefed up its digital consultancy offering in Asia Pacific (APAC) with the acquisition of Adelphi Digital Consulting Group. The deal sees over 170 staff join EY in Australia, Singapore and Thailand.

In the APAC region, EY generates revenues of $4.1 billion (excluding Japan) on the back of 10.5% growth, which makes APAC EY’s hottest region globally. While the majority of growth has been realised organically, M&A plays an integral part of the firm’s growth strategy. In September this year, Tony Johnson, who leads EY Oceania and a direct report of APAC Managing Partner Patrick Winter, said “Acquisitions absolutely have to be part of the growth strategy, but it has to be measured. We will buy in areas that have the biggest tailwinds behind them, where clients have a real hunger for those services, and where we have pent up demand.” 

This has seen EY already absorb two players in Asia Pacific this year – Articulate Consulting, a boutique change consultancy in Australia, and cybersecurity consultancy Xynapse, which has offices in Malaysia, China and Hong Kong. The latest deal, the purchase of Adelphi Digital Consulting Group, adds 170 consultants, digital specialists and designers to the firm’s footprint in Singapore, Thailand and Australia.

Commenting on the deal, Max Loh, EY Asean and Singapore Managing Partner, said: “Adelphi Digital Consulting Group has a strong reputation in the market for delivering leading edge digital experiences for clients, and their addition strengthens our ability to help companies seize the upsides of digital and accelerate their business transformation.”

EY buys Adelphi, adds 170 staff in Australia, Singapore and Thailand

The move comes at a time when digital consulting is booming. Against a backdrop of digitisation impacting all facets of business, from primary processes and internal operations to partnerships and ecosystem collaborations, clients are increasingly turning to consultants to support their digital ambitions. EY is one of the leading players in the digital consultancy space, alongside many of its classic rivals such as Deloitte, PwC, KPMG, technology heritage players such as Accenture and Cognizant, as well as agencies – which are seeing their market share being eaten up by the rise of consultancies.

According to Lynn Kraus, Managing Partner of Advisory for Oceania, the bolt-on of Adelphi Digital will enable EY in APAC to support clients “with all aspects of their digital lifecycle from strategy; product and service innovation, and customer experience to technology development.” She continued, “we can now help our clients move rapidly and seamlessly from concept to code.” Loh added, “Our unique advantage is being able to infuse digital into the multi-domain and cross-service line EY approach to help clients solve their complex end-to-end business transformation challenges.” 

Digital development

Founded in 1996, Adelphi Digital Consulting Group helps clients with their digital development endeavours. The firm supports the development of digital strategies, and the execution of website/application development, content development, social media and data analytics.

In Singapore, the company helped the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) with refreshing its website to reflect the new strategy of the organisation. Among its other credentials, Adelphi Digital Consulting Group also helped Science Centre Singapore and Skinny Pizza with an online engagement, while supporting Tiong Bahru Bakery with an online experience revamp, building on a mobile-first approach. In Australia, where the largest part of Adelphi’s employees are based, the local team has worked for the likes of Port of Brisbane, Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, Designcraft and My Greater Sydney, a group that has the vision to reshape Greater Sydney as a metropolis of three cities.

For Adelphi Digital Consulting Group, integration into EY will provide the firm with larger opportunities for growth. Margaret Manning, CEO of the acquired group and now a Partner in the Advisory practice of EY based in Singapore, explained: “The Adelphi Digital team are extremely excited. EY has a very strong innovation consulting culture, which is a great match with our heritage in digital transformation and user experience design.”

For an overview of significant acquisitions EY has closed in the past years, see the page EY | Mergers & Acquisitions on Consultancy.org.

Deloitte and KPMG make risk and insolvency acquisitions in Australia

15 March 2019 Consultancy.asia

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