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Wavestone has acquired PEN Partnership. The move for the London-based firm adds a team of around 100 staff and associated independents to Wavestone, as it looks to grow in the UK.

Founded in 2012, PEN Partnership is a specialist management consultancy, focusing on; customer experience, operational excellence and change delivery service. Its team of specialists have worked across a range of sectors – from financial services and pharmaceuticals, to retail and consumer goods.

In the 10 years since its launch, PEN has grown its annual turnover to be between £15 million and £20 million, while it hosts around 100 consultants engaged in client projects. While this represents strong growth, however, the management team at PEN had become aware that to sustain this expansion, it would need the support of a partner – especially in the wake of the pandemic – to supercharge its efforts in deepening its client offering. Having undertaken a thorough market assessment, considering and discounting several options, PEN has eventually entered into an agreement with Wavestone.

Wavestone acquires London-based consultancy PEN Partnership

Chris Gibson, PEN Partnership’s CEO, commented, “Wavestone and PEN Partnership together make a powerful combination and this is really great news for our clients and staff. The two companies provide complementary services and share very similar corporate culture and values. Wavestone has an ambitious growth plan and I am very excited for the PEN team to play a key role in building a leading consultancy player in the UK market.”

A French owned management and digital consulting firm, Wavestone provides a range of management and IT advisory offerings, serving corporates, multinationals, and public sector organisations. As it looks to put its own ambition to become a “top-tier international consulting brand” in the wake of Covid-19, it has resumed a pan-European acquisition drive.

Growing firms

Following the firm’s rebranding in the summer of 2016, as part of the merger between Solucom and parts of Kurt Salmon’s business, Wavestone used bolt-ons such as the UK’s Xceed Group to grow its global profile. Thanks to this, the firm presently employs 4,000 consultants in 15 cities globally, with offices predominantly in France and other parts of Europe, but also in the US, Morocco, Hong Kong and Singapore.

The deal to bring PEN onboard suits Wavestone, as while it is trying to expand in the UK market, the addition of PEN’s 60 permanent employees, plus around 40 independent consultants with expertise in the financial services and life science sectors will supplement Wavestone’s technological offering in the UK. This will help meet the demand of new clients across two lucrative industries. Meanwhile, it helps PEN, as it looks to realise an ambition of expanding into US – which it recognises as a key market for its financial services and life sciences offerings.

Reza Maghsoudnia, Strategic Development Director of Wavestone, noted, “This merger enhances Wavestone’s ability to deliver global transformation programmes. With PEN, we can now accelerate our growth in the UK and deepen our value proposition in Financial Services and Life Sciences globally. It’s clear from our discussions with PEN that there’s synergies not only in the services provided, but the company culture.”

The acquisition also has a significant cultural fit, with the two firms strongly aligned on topics such as CSR, and diversity. To that end, PEN was recently recognised on a list of the 30 best places to work for women in the UK.

Wavestone financed the acquisition with its own funds. The reported price for 100% of PEN’s share capital was reported as £22.5 million in enterprise value, plus an additional consideration of up to £7.5 million, conditioned by PEN’s performance over the next 18 months.