Sia Partners acquires French digital marketing agency Fove

25 May 2018 4 min. read

Consulting firm Sia Partners has closed its third acquisition in the space of six months. Following the bolt-ons of E3 in North America and ShiftIN Partners in the Middle East, the consultancy has now bolstered its presence in its home-market of France with the pickup of digital agency Fove.

The move follows from what Matthieu Courtecuisse, the firm’s founder and CEO, calls a key step in broadening Sia’s footprint in the digital, creative and customer experience landscape, with Fove adding a range of concept and execution capabilities to the firm’s portfolio.

Fove was founded in 2015 following the acquisition of Uniteam by Ebb & Flow – the combined entity rebranding as Fove in early 2016. The digital marketing agency has a team of around 30 professionals, based just outside of Paris, serving clients such as Europcar, Michelin, Pierre Fabre, Galeries Lafayette, Nespresso, Moët Hennessy and Harley Davidson. Fove specialises in brand creation and conception, customer relationship management and digital delivery.

Sia Partners acquires French digital marketing agency Fove

While Courtecuisse acknowledges that Fove’s activities are far-flung from the typical management and operational consulting services Sia Partners offers – “Fave’s focus is different to our core focus” he told French magazine – the CEO added that the addition aligns perfectly with the firm’s vision to build an integrated service portfolio, from conception through to hands-on creation.

The branching out into the digital marketing scene follows a broader trend in the consulting industry which is seeing established consultancies muscle their way into the world of the Chief Marketing Officer. Following an aggressive buy-and-build strategy, Accenture Interactive is now the globe’s largest digital agency, according to US publication AdAge, while the likes of Deloitte Digital, IBM IX and PwC Digital are in terms of size now also able to compete with the Big Five in advertising – WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Interpublic and Dentsu.

Consulting firms are moving into the landscape because they believe they have a more solid analytics and advisory rigour to make an impact for the CMO, while, on the other side of the table, the marketing incumbents are pointing out that the big consultancies trail in creative skills and lack the experience and track record in such engagements. 

Sia Partners' foray into digital marketing

The shift into digital marketing however is not one just for the absolute largest in the industry, demonstrated by this latest move on French soil. With a size of around 1,100 professionals in 15 countries, Sia Partners ranks as a mid-sized consultancy on the global stage, yet within this segment, it is among the first to make a serious foray into digital marketing. 

“This acquisition enables Sia Partners to add new offerings including the conception of brand or communication strategies, the implementation of omnichannel customer relationship strategies, as well as broaden our already existing digitalisation of the customer experience service.” Sia Partners will also now be able to offer its customers a “leading design thinking lab,” Courtecuisse said. The synergies go both ways, he continued, stating “synergies from Sia Partners should allow Fove to increase its turnover by 25%.” 

As part of the integration, Nathalie Guiet, Judith Balagny and Quentin Durand – formerly Director at Fove – will join Sia’s Digital management committee, overseen by Arnaud Aymé. 

Financial details of the deal have not been disclosed – although it's known that Fove booked a revenue of over €12 million in its latest financial year. In France, the Fove acquisition marks Sia’s first deal since it bought Sourcing France, a procurement consultancy, three years ago. Globally, the firm purchased E3 (North America; 2018), ShiftIN Partners (Middle East; 2017) and Molten (UK; 2016), and further invested in two French start-ups through its venture capital fund. 

Related: France management consulting market reaches €4.5 billion as growth peaks.