Exton Consulting held deal talks with Cognizant

23 October 2019 Consultancy.eu 3 min. read

Exton Consulting, a management consulting firm with three offices in Europe, is allegedly being eyed by the dealmakers of Cognizant. 

Established in 2006, in France, today Exton Consulting is one of Europe’s larger management consulting firms dedicated to the financial services industry. The firm’s approximately 120 consultants based in France, Italy, Germany and Morocco work for banking institutions, insurance companies, payments providers, asset managers and fast-growing FinTech scale-ups.

According to reporting by French platform Consultor, Exton Consulting sits high on the M&A wish list of Cognizant, a US-headquartered IT consulting giant with over 280,000 staff globally. While Cognizant generates nearly all of its revenues in IT services, IT outsourcing and managed services, the company has in recent years been making inroads into the more high-end consulting landscape.

Exton Consulting held deal talks with Cognizant

A buy-and-build strategy has been instrumental to the growth of its consulting division. Cognizant deal data from Consultancy.org shows that the company has closed six acquisitions in the past 22 months, of which three were in the consulting landscape. In Asia, Cognizant bought salesforce consulting firm SaaSfocus, in the United States creative agency Mustache was picked up, and the purchase of Hedera Consulting bolstered its consulting teams in Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland.

In France, Cognizant is a relatively smaller player, both overall in IT services as well as in consulting – the company is estimated to have some 400 employees on the ground across offices in Paris, Grenoble and Lyon. At the helm of the French country team stands Olivier Cavrel, an 11-year veteran at the company. 

In a bid to beef up its scale and capabilities in France, Cognizant allegedly came close to buying Exton Consulting. Two sources close to the matter said to Consultor that at the end of 2018 “advanced negotiations” had been held between top representatives of both firms. The deal talks however fell though for financial reasons, according to the reports. Exton Consulting and publicly listed Cognizant (in the US) declined to comment on the rumour. 

Had the deal been completed, then it would have been Cognizant’s first in France since the acquisition of Equinox in 2013. Equinox was a consulting firm specialised in the banking and insurance sectors.