Accenture Interactive acquires digital marketing agency in China

08 June 2018

Accenture Interactive has picked up Chinese full-service digital marketing agency HO Communication – just as the digital behemoth gets set to formally enter the ad-buying market.

Billed as one of the leading independent, digital integrated marketing agencies in China focused on omni-channel brand experiences and customer engagement, HO Communication will now come under the direction of what has in less than ten years since its launch become the outright largest digital marketing network in the world – having acquired at least 20 digital and design agencies in that time. Last year, Accenture Interactive booked revenues of $6.5 billion on the back of 35% growth.

And the digital juggernaut hasn’t slowed since, with Accenture in the last six months or so bringing in French full service digital commerce firm Altima, creative agency Rothco of Ireland, New York-based integrated marketing agency Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, and the immersive content producer Mackevision, most well-known for its special effects work on the hit HBO series Game of Thrones. Last month, Accenture formally announced its entry into the realm of programmatic media buying, an industry, quite simply, on track to conquer the world.

On the consumption side of the ledger, is China, pointed out as ‘the world’s largest digital consumer market,’ by Wei Zhu, chairman of Accenture Greater China, speaking on the firm’s latest acquisition. “We are committed to China and our clients to continuously uplift our capabilities, especially in an area as critical as digital to help our clients transform and grow.”Accenture picks up digital communications agency in ChinaIn terms of expanded local capabilities, the acquisition of HO Communications bring a full suite of digital marketing offerings from content creation and creative design to branding and media services, along with 200 employees across offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Chengdu and Nanjing and over a hundred Chinese and multinational clients. Wei Zhu continued; “HO Communication will strengthen our ability to meet the growing digital demands of our clients, be their partner of choice in digital transformation, and help them achieve better business performance.”

Commenting further, Jason Chau, Accenture Interactive managing director for Greater China added that the proficiency of HO Communication “combined with Accenture’s scale across all our capabilities in Greater China” would provide a compelling proposition for local clients. “The combination will put a more complete set of capabilities at the fingertips of our clients, enabling them to harness the creativity of a digital marketing agency and the insights of a business consultancy, and giving them access to a technology powerhouse to create the best experiences on the planet.”

Lamy Zhang, the CEO of HO Communication, took up the thread; “The state of the traditional marketing and advertising industry is changing. Clients want campaigns, but they also want advice on strategy and assistance on delivery. We see this as the future for the industry, and want to be part of creating and shaping that future, which is why I’m excited about pairing up with Accenture,” Zhang said.

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