Lisa Chapman, Big4.com
November 21, 2010
Just late last week we heard that Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. (Deloitte) is talking with Roland Berger Strategy Consultants on a potential business combination. This was reported by Deloitte Germany Chief Executive Martin Plendl with a decision to be made in a few weeks. “A merger opens up a unique opportunity for growth for both firms,” Plendl said.
Roland Berger is a Munich Germany-based management consulting firm with 180 partners, 2,000 employees in 27 countries and 2009 revenues of 616 million euros ($833 million). It is cited for its research studies on business and management issues.
Roland Berger also confirmed the talks. “Discussions with Deloitte are taking place to open new and fascinating growth prospects for our company,” Roland Berger Strategy Consultants said in an e-mailed statement today. In August 2010, company founder Roland Berger stepped down as chairman of the supervisory board.
The idea was to merge Deloitte’s strategy, operations and company restructuring consultancy divisions with its German competitor to be finally termed Roland Berger Deloitte Strategy Consulting with revenues of 2 billion euros ($2.7 billion),. This would have been a strong competitor to McKinsey in the German market.
Well, that was last week.
Just today, we see from the German press that the talks have concluded, we guess much earlier than generally expected.
The two parties have called off the merger as Roland Berger’s 170 partners voted against the deal, voting to stay independent. "The partners have decided to stay independent," a spokesperson said on Sunday. And to further ensure Berger’s independence, the partners are planning to raise their equity in the company. Apparently, Roland Berger, who founded the firm in 1967 is considering injecting between 50 and 80 million euros of his own money, according to a report in the Financial Times Deutschland.
Not that long ago, Deloitte was eyeing Booz or Kearney as their talks first started up and then collapsed as the individual firms partners decided to stay independent. Nothing ever came of that from the Deloitte side, and this adds another to the M&A dance list, where two parties generally agree to go to the dance floor and things only work out when both are happy to be together for a long time. This time, it appears that the Roland Berger partners decided to stick it out on their own rather than be incorporated into the depths of the largest accounting firm on the planet. To that streak of independence, we tip our hats. And to the bubbling of merger news, we can only say, it is going to be the beginning of a long streak of acquisitions in this sector.