Bain & Company set to buy Nordic strategy consultancy Qvartz

09 December 2019 Consultancy.eu

Qvartz, a Nordic-origin strategy and management consultancy with around 450 consultants and staff, has been acquired by Bain & Company, one of the globe’s leading strategic advisors.

The move will create a management consulting powerhouse in the Nordics, where Qvartz was founded and is headquartered. Since founding in 2002 in Copenhagen, Denmark, Qvartz has extended its Scandinavian footprint to also include offices in Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden.

Qvartz positions itself as a local Nordic rival to the major strategy consulting firms, and on the back of its high-end service portfolio and growing credentials, the consulting firm has successfully nestled its way into the market. According to estimates by Consultancy.eu, Qvartz is now the third largest strategic-focused consultancy in the Nordics, trailing just McKinsey & Company and Boston Consulting Group in size, but ahead of the likes of Bain & Company (pre-deal), Oliver Wyman, Roland Berger and Strategy&.

Hans Henrik Beck, Managing Partner of Qvartz said, “We have excelled in the Scandinavian market – in a relatively short period of time – by helping our clients solve their most complex strategic challenges in a way that delivers maximum impact.”

Bain & Company acquires Qvartz

The firm serves its clients across the strategy, management, operations and digital space, working for multinationals, local corporates as well as fast growing scale-ups. In recent years, Qvartz for example helped iconic Danish brand Bang & Olufsen with a customer experience transformation, and Nordic airliner SAS with navigating strong competition in the aviation industry and beefing up its operational efficiency. In the oil & gas space meanwhile, Qvartz consultants supported the merger between DEA and Wintershall.

More impact with a global reach

By blending into Bain & Company, Qvartz expects to make an even bigger impact in the €3 billion Nordic consulting industry. Henrik Beck reflected, “Bain’s approach to strategic advisory services closely mirrors our own and together, we will help clients across the region realise their full potential.”

The deal however is not a fact yet, with the two companies highlighting that they have entered “exclusive talks to finalise the details of the transaction”, suggesting that Qvartz has also held talks with other consulting firms. According to reports in Nordic media, Qvartz has been working on its joining of forces since the summer.

“The intention is rooted in our shared values, beliefs and approach to strategy consulting, pairing Qvartz' strong client relations and knowledge of the Nordic region with the equally strong global reputation, competencies and reach of Bain & Company.”

Alongside the ability to offer a broader and deeper portfolio, another reasons for Qvartz to join a larger, global rival lies in the investments that are needed to fund international growth. In recent years, Qvartz has opened own offices in Germany, the US and Asia, and established alliances with firms in India (UC Strategy), Latin America (Mirow & Company) and the Netherlands (Boer & Croon).

However, “while we have had success establishing offices outside the Nordic region, it has been demanding and it draws attention away from our core business of giving advice to customers,” admitted Gaute Andreassen, a partner at Qvartz in Norway, to Norwegian newspaper DN.

Joining Bain & Company provides Qvartz with a platform of over 55+ offices globally, and one of the most renowned brands in the industry. The privately-held partnership was founded in 1973 in the United States, and today generates revenues of $4.5 billion globally.

For the US-headquartered consultancy, the deal is set to become the firm’s largest acquisition in over a decade. Last year the consultancy bought FRWD in a move that added digital marketing capabilities to its portfolio and some 45 employees, but nowhere near the 450 of Qvartz. It also demonstrates the firm’s large ambitions in the Nordics, where it now can challenge arch-rivals McKinsey and BCG across all practices.

“We aspire to become the top management consultancy in the Nordics and we are now on the threshold of achieving that.”
– Dan Kuzmic, Bain & Company

“We aspire to become the top consultancy in the Nordics and we are now on the threshold of achieving that,” said Dan Kuzmic, Bain & Company’s head of the Bain’s Nordic region. “Pairing the expertise and cultures of our two firms will exponentially improve our ability to serve clients, particularly in the emerging areas of renewable energy, advanced manufacturing, consumer products and private equity.”

The combined Bain – Qvartz outfit is estimated to have around 480 partners, consultants and staff in the Nordics, with former Qvartz employees making up two-thirds of the mix. The integration will in due course see the merged consultancies combine their offices and operate under the Bain & Company brand.

Beyond the Nordics

Qvartz’s offices in Hamburg, New York and Singapore are also in-scope of the deal, with the exact route forward for these offices and its approximately 160 employees “to be defined over the coming months” said Henrik Beck. Bain has offices in the latter two cities, but not in Hamburg, with the German region covered through hubs in Frankfurt, Berlin, Dusseldorf and Munich.

“We are proceeding to finalise the details of the transaction and look forward to the journey that lies ahead,” concluded Henrik Beck.


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