InSites Consulting continues global march with Asian acquisition

13 December 2019 3 min. read

Belgian-origin research and marketing consultancy InSites Consulting has purchased insights firm ABN Impact, significantly expanding its presence in Asia.

After securing financial backing from a Dutch private equity firm toward the end of last year, Belgian-headquartered research and marketing firm InSites Consulting has taken a further step in its global growth ambitions with the purchase of ABN Impact, its fifth acquisition in just the past two years. The latest move significantly expands InSites’ presence in Asia, with ABN Impact having offices in Singapore, Bangkok, Jakarta, Manila, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul.

“Asia accounts for nearly two thirds of global economic growth. The region remains the world’s most dynamic, being home to almost 60% of the world population with a median age of just above 30,” said Kristof De Wulf, co-founder and CEO of InSites Consulting. “Hence, it comes as no surprise that our global clients are investing heavily in the region. With the acquisition of ABN Impact, we can further support these clients more effectively and impactfully.”

InSites, founded more than two decades ago in Ghent, describes itself as a next-generation insight agency pushing the boundaries of marketing research, and counting Unilever, L'Oréal and IKEA among its roster of clients offers services in branding & communications, customer experience, and innovation. The firm’s rapidly growing revenues stood in excess of €50 million earlier this year, with its purchase of ABN Impact set to push that out to €65 million-plus.

InSites Consulting continues global march with Asian acquisition

The deal will also see InSites’ headcount swell to 600 professionals, spread across 17 locations which in addition to existing bases in Europe, the US, South Africa and Australia now include outlets across Southeast and East Asia. Among those 600 are the ‘seasoned’ ABN Impact leaders who join InSites as managing partners, including ABN’ CEO Maz Amirahmadi, now CEO of the Asia amalgamation, and former Chief Client Officer Scott Lee as Senior Client Partner.

Amirahmadi, following a stint as Managing Director of Synovate in Thailand, co-founded ABN Impact in Singapore in 2010 (then abn Research), drawing on over 15 years of industry experience across Asia and London. Meanwhile, having spent nearly two decades in various roles at research/marketing firms including Ipsos, the Aegis-acquired Pegram Walters, Synovate and then Cimigo, Lee in 2012 established the ABN Impact branch in Hong Kong.

“ABN Impact and InSites Consulting represent a perfect fit on so many levels” said Amirahmadi. “Together, we will continue to progress next-gen research through insight communities. Our combined strength will spark ever advancing thought leadership around CX, innovation and branding.” On LinkedIn, noting the deal coincides with ABN Impact’s tenth anniversary, he added; “As good as the last decade has been, the next one will be even better.”

Amirahmadi will lead the combined Asian entity under a ABN Impact | InSites Consulting banner, while in the Australian market the brand will remain InSites Consulting Australia, with local 2017 acquisition Direction First having only recently formalised the switch. Other acquisitions over the past couple of years include Columinate in South Africa, and more recently Paris-based creative crowdsourcing leader eÿeka and insights firm Join the Dots of the UK.