Top M&A and restructuring consulting firms in Switzerland

23 July 2019 4 min. read

Having eclipsed the barrier of €2 billion in revenues, on the back of 7% growth last year, Switzerland’s management consulting industry is on a roll. Meet the country’s top consulting firms for mergers & acquisitions and restructuring/turnaround services.

Data sourced from Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences and Bilanz (a Swiss business magazine) shows that in the field of mergers & acquisitions (M&A), a select group of five consultancies lead the way in the quality of their consulting services. Consultants are part of the chain of services provided by external advisors during mergers or acquisitions, which for larger transactions also includes the involvement of lawyers, corporate finance experts, bankers and tax experts.

Consulting firms typically take responsibility for the strategic aspects of deals (how does inorganic growth support the corporate strategy and defining post-deal business models and roadmaps), due diligence (detailed analysis of the other party on topics such as commercials, operations, IT infrastructure or human capital) and transaction support (ensuring the end-to-end process runs smoothly from target identification through to negotiations and closing).

According to Swiss executives that in recent years have worked with M&A consultancy firms, McKinsey & Company and Bain & Company are the country’s top providers. In Switzerland, McKinsey is the larger of the two, generating around 220 million francs compared to Bain’s 120 million francs. While both consulting firms serve clients across industries, they have a number of key different strengths. McKinsey ranks highly in M&A work for clients in financial services, consumer goods and industry sectors, while Bain has a leading track record in the private equity space, an edge which builds on the firm’s global footprint and heritage with private investor groups.Top M&A consulting firms in EuropeThe two strategic consultancies are followed by three of the Big Four accounting and consulting firms – PwC, EY and KPMG, which manage to edge the fourth player of their group Deloitte, as well as McKinsey and Bain arch rival Boston Consulting Group (BCG). 

It is however Boston Consulting Group – which generates 150 million francs worth of fee income in the Swiss market – that enjoys the maximum number of plaudits in the post-merger integration domain, which relates to deal-related work that comes after deal closing. In this process of a deal, consulting firms often see their mandates broadened, tapped to for instance lead the integration work (on the programme management office) or be part of the different country – in the case of a cross-border deal – or functional work-streams. 

Hot on the heels of Boston Consulting Group are McKinsey and Roland Berger, the latter which is a German-origin strategy consulting firm and one of the few European-grown players that has been able to successfully nestle itself among the larger American firms such as the ‘MBB’, but also A.T. Kearney, Oliver Wyman and Strategy&. Deloitte and PwC round off the list of Switzerland’s best consulting firms for post-merger integration.

In the restructuring segment, AlixPartners is ranked by clients as the top performer. Restructuring consultants are brought on board by organisations at times of (financial) distress, or when crisis management support is needed. Leveraging their expertise, consultants help client organisations to limit adverse effects, ensure business continuity, and with action-planning towards a sustainable future. In other cases, restructuring consultants support the dismantling or sale of (parts of) the business, as part of a renewed strategy. Due to the overlap in required skills and offerings, at most consulting firms, turnaround services are alongside M&A part of the corporate finance arm. 

Roland Berger is Switzerland's second top performing restructuring consulting firm. The trio of McKinsey, BCG and PwC complete the leading group of firms.