French consultancy Argon Consulting merges with UK's Crimson & Co

02 May 2018 Authored by Consultancy.eu

Two established consulting firms in the operations and supply chain space – Argon Consulting and Crimson & Co – have decided to merge. The combined group, which will be headquartered in London and Paris, will have more than 230 consultants in six offices across the world. 

Building on the combined strengths of both consulting firms, the newly formed company has “ambitious plans”, according to Richard Powell, co-founder of Crimson & Co, and Yvan Salamon, founder of Argon Consulting. “We have the aim grow further internationally, opening more offices around the world and providing on-the-ground capability and in-market expertise from local consultants in regions where clients want them to be,” they stated in a joint press release. 

Argon Consulting has been around for more than two decades. The consultancy specialises in operational transformation projects and digitisation, supporting clients with among others supply chain consultancy, logistics advisory, research & development, procurement, working capital management, manufacturing, change management, Internet of Things, robotics and Industry 4.0. 

French consultancy Argon Consulting merges with UKs Crimson & Co.jpg

The firm has in recent years on the back of its expansion into the UK and its offerings seen strong growth, growing from 50 consultants in 2011 to around 150 consultants prior to the merger. “In recent years, diversification of the portfolio has been key to Argon Consulting’s development, resulting in coverage of the entire operational value chain,” explained Salamon, who prior to founding Argon Consulting served strategy consultancy Mars & Co for four years in Paris. 

The joining of forces with the smaller but more international Crimson & Co (80 consultants; six offices globally) will enable Argon Consulting to deepen its operations and supply chain propositions, as well as extend its global reach. Besides also having hubs in London and Paris, Crimson & Co also has offices in the US (Atlanta), Asia (Singapore and Mumbai) and Australia (Melbourne).

“The merger with Crimson & Co is a fantastic opportunity to support our clients in all kinds of operational transformations on a truly global scale. The consistency of values between the two businesses and our shared commitment to the development of our teams’ expertise were important factors in our decision,” added Salamon.

Enlarged footprint

The joining of forces will allow the newly formed global group – details on branding have not yet been released – to better compete in terms of size and scale with many of the other top tier players in the market. Earlier this year, Argon Consulting was named one of UK’s leading management consulting firms in Operations & supply chain, yet it was one of the smaller players in the list of top 20 firms. The merged firm is now significantly larger than LCP Consulting (35 employees; part of BearingPoint), 4C Associates (100 employees) and OEE Consulting (160 employees), yet from an FTE perspective still trailing the likes of specialists Efficio (400 employees) and the operations consulting divisions of Accenture, the Big Four, Capgemini Consulting or the US-headquartered strategy consultancies.

“Combined, we will draw on our strengths in operations, finance and digital to support businesses and their leaders in operational transformation projects on a global scale,” remarked Salamon, whio has been named President of the combined business.

Quote Yvan Salamon & Richard Powell

For Crimson & Co, the move adds new capabilities to its roster of offerings, allowing its teams to broaden their services to clients. According to recent research from Arthur D. Little, the supply chain and logistics industries are increasingly being disrupted by competition and tech-led innovation, and to stay ahead of the curve executives are turning to more integrated and end-to-end services. Richard Powell, co-founder of Crimson & Co, explained that this prompted the consultancy to revisit its strategy, “we have been thinking for some time about how to broaden and deepen our market offering to support clients more comprehensively, particularly in the areas of digital and finance, and the merger with Argon Consulting provides the opportunity to do this, enhancing our ability to support clients and their operational transformations.” 

France – UK deal ties

The deal between Argon Consulting and Kings Cross-based Crimson & Co continues a trend of French-origin consultancies that have picked up UK-origin peers through M&A. Last month Paris headquartered Wavestone bought Xceed Group, one of the UK’s fastest growing IT consultancies, three years after it first set foot on UK soil with the acquisition of Hudson & Yorke. In September last year EY-Parthenon France acquired the French arm of UK’s OC&C Strategy Consultants, while in 2016, Sia Partners significantly expanded its presence in UK’s consulting industry with the bolt-on of Molten Group. 

Meanwhile in the supply chain consulting space, last month Deloitte Consulting acquired Dutch supply chain consultancy AEPEX. Founded in 1997, by former Andersen Consulting consultants, AEPEX is an expert in SAP – the team has been integrated into Deloitte Consulting’s service lines for Supply Chain and Technology.

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