Australian consultancy PM-Partners acquired by Japanese firm

18 September 2018 3 min. read

Homegrown consulting firm PM-Partners has been acquired by Outsourcing, a Japanese multinational that has the aim of tapping into Australia’s multibillion dollar consulting market.

PM-Partners are coming up on the next-generation wave of management consultancies which are challenging the traditional firms in big ways. As big consulting firms further extend themselves into new domains of generating profits – for example, the Big Four’s legal market expansion and Accenture and McKinsey’s defined drive into the agency realm – newcomers have their eye on the prestige of old-school management and strategy consulting. 

PM-Partners is by no means a boutique firm. The consultancy aims to boost its annual intake this year by 20%, tipping the firm to break the $100 million mark by year’s end. Propped up by its advisory services and the professional training of just under 10,000 people a year, PM-Partners’ main specialties lie in its project management office (PMO) and the field of change management. 

Managing directors Nicholas Samuelson, Peter Swan and Stephen Hewitson – who started the firm over 20 years ago and built it with the goal of becoming a viable alternative to the Big Four – will split the $40 million from the firm’s sale to Outsourcing. The firm will retain its current branding, however it will be split into two fractions – presumably along the management/digital strategy lines like PwC/Strategy&, Deloitte/Deloitte Digital etc. Greater details have yet to be released.

The Sydney-headquartered firm and its 400 staff will join Outsourcing Inc and its international network of clients and advisories. Ken Sheargold, who took over as PR-Partners’ chief executive early last year said that the acquisition would allow the consulting firm access to a greater support network, resulting in potentially rapid growth. “We now have a global company supporting our business and can offer services with the knowledge that we have a global partner to support us,” said Sheargold. 

Australian consultancy PM-Partners acquired by Japanese firm

Generating almost a third of revenue directly and indirectly from the Victorian and NSW governments, when PR-Partners says they are growing into the role of “a viable alternative to the big four,” they’re also noticing opportunity in the governments’ distinct shift towards using consultants for public sector work

"The bulk of our business is in execution [such as] transformation programs, running integrated technology programs and changing business operating models. Clients are looking for a higher-value-for-money proposition for their service providers," Sheargold said. 

For Outsourcing, the purchase is a checkpoint towards the firm’s medium-term business plan ‘VISION 2020: Tackling New Frontiers.’ By expanding into areas of growth and stability – including Australia’s management consulting industry – the firm aims to build a healthy group structure. The group says that there has been a global uptake in public services outsourcing, and that it is less susceptible to economic fluctuations than other business cycles. 

“We have provided outsourcing, recruitment, staffing services extensively to clients both in private and public sectors, mainly in Japan, Australia, New Zealand and England. As a result of PM-Partners group becoming a part of OS group, we will surely strengthen our customer bases and service line-ups,” said Masaki Motegi, the senior executive director at Outsourcing Inc.

“We are delighted to welcome PM-Partners group with its excellent management team. We are expecting the management team to strive for continuous growth, while we will be working closely and cooperatively with them to maximise group synergies,” he concluded.