Nick Jones joins M&A advisory Equiteq as Head of Europe

17 September 2018 5 min. read

Equiteq, an international M&A advisory firm for the professional services industry, has appointed Nick Jones as the firm’s new Head of Europe. In a dual role, Jones, who is based in London, will also head the firm’s global M&A practice.

“We are pleased to bring Nick into our firm to lead our growing European practice and enhance our global M&A practice,” said David Jorgenson, Chief Executive Officer of Equiteq. “Nick’s long history of advising entrepreneurs and private equity shareholders in the knowledge economy will be incredibly valuable to our clients as they build and realise equity value in their firms.”

Joining from Cavendish Corporate Finance, where he served as Partner and Head of Technology, Jones brings over two decades of experience working in the M&A space. During his five and a half year tenure at Cavendish, which is a member of the Oaklins network, he advised on transactions including the sales of Bfinance, Reward Gateway and Micad to private equity and the sale of Annodata and Star Technology to strategic buyers. Prior to that, Jones was a Partner at Clearwater Corporate Finance, where he managed the firm's private equity relationships. In the eight years at the M&A consultancy, he helped build the London business from start-up. Jones previously gained City experience, working among others for Credit Agricole as an Investment Director.

At Equiteq, Jones will coordinate the firm’s mergers & acquisitions activity across Equiteq’s five global offices in New York, London, Paris, Singapore and Sydney. Equiteq is one of the larger M&A advisors with a dedicated focus to the professional services industry – last year the consultancy supported deals in the management consulting, IT consulting, creative and digital, and media agency sectors. Recent deals advised on include the sale of London’s design thinking consultancy 8works to Oliver Wyman, the sale of US-based c3/consulting to international player Ankura Consulting Group, as well as the sales of Ducker Worldwide (US) and Axentel Technologies (Asia) to Frontier Strategy Group and Park Place Technologies respectively. Since launching in 2006, Equiteq’s roster of deal testimonials spans nearly 400 strategic advisory and M&A transactions.

Nick Jones joins M&A advisory Equiteq as Head of Europe

Jorgenson said that the move to pick up Jones is part of the firm’s “continued commitment to build the only M&A consultancy focused exclusively on professional services,” with Jones stating, “I believe Equiteq can become the preeminent advisor in the sector.”

Deals in professional services

According to Equiteq’s latest annual study on trends and developments in the sector, M&A activity in professional services tallied over 2,500 last year, with growing demand for management consulting businesses – the largest segment within the industry (34%) – driving demand. One trend highlighted by the authors is the growing convergence in the industry’s segment. CEO Jorgenson remarked: “Knowledge-intensive services providers are under enormous pressure from a rapid wave of disruption led by an accelerating trend of technology-enabled innovation. We are seeing a continued blurring of boundaries across all firms utilising intellectual capital, not just consultancies but also software and managed service companies.”

Large consulting firms such as the Big Four and the top strategy consultancies such as McKinsey, BCG and Bain are pushing into the creative and digital marketing space, while Accenture and Deloitte have in the space of just a few years built from scratch the largest advertising agencies in the globe, jumping ahead of the likes of WPP, Omnicom, Publicis and Dentsu in terms of headcount, according to the publication AdAge. The role of buy-and-build has been instrumental in the expansion, with Accenture alone splashing out $1 billion in 2017 for its inorganic growth endeavours. Meanwhile, practically all consulting firms are seeking to bolster their digital and technology capabilities, with some delving deeper into the solutions and managed services space in a bid to build a more end-to-end portfolio.

In their needs for M&A support, “clients are increasingly demanding specialisation and a hands-on approach”, noted Jones, adding, “Equiteq is uniquely positioned to deliver with a seamless global team and insight-led services.”

On top of his M&A role, Jones will also focus on leading Equiteq’s growing practice in Europe, where the firm has recently expanded its office footprint with a location in Paris.