Press Release

TAS-Acquisitions Consultants Struggle to Differentiate in a Crowded Market, Claims New ALM Intelligence Report

Top Ratings Released on Best Transaction Acquisition Consulting Firms for 2019

New York, NY – June 27, 2019 – ALM Intelligence – Consulting division, previously known as Kennedy Consulting, has released its 2019 ratings of The ALM Vanguard: Transactions – Acquisitions Consulting 2019 consulting providers. With a strong M&A market continuing into 2019, consulting providers are responding to intense competitive pressure by investing in both the depth (primarily in technology) and breadth (by adding services) to their TAS offering. This has pushed even the largest providers to recognize the limits of what they can provide in-house, propelling the growth of ecosystems — strategic alliances and partnerships to fill capability gaps and enhance their brand through association with boutique technical experts.

“Deal volumes remain strong and deal valuations even higher, with a total global value in 2019 topping $4 trillion, according to the Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions, and Alliances (IMAA) — ensuring steady work for TAS teams for the foreseeable future,” said Tomek Jankowski, Senior Research Analyst at ALM Intelligence. “But the M&A space is one of the most crowded consulting markets, and as this report explores, differentiation is a growing headache for consulting providers.”

Some providers’ differentiation strategies in buy-side M&A include: 

  • A scale & scope play: The goal is to be able to handle the most complex regional and global cross-border deals, a comprehensive array of capabilities across diverse geographies and jurisdictions. Only a handful of providers are able to take this approach.
  • Laser-focus: Clients are still deeply impressed by expert credentials, providing plenty of opportunity for small specialist boutiques. Many of the larger providers utilize boutiques on deals, often less for their technical capabilities than their brand — winning deals by including well-known boutiques on their team.   
  • And a windshield clean too: Some — many, actually — providers are adding other, non-TAS services to their offering, including technology services, interim and managed services, tax services, risk & assurance, technology collaborative centers, and client networking panels. 
  • Plays well with others: Conceding no provider can do it all, the largest providers have tended to embrace the need for broader service ecosystems, achieved through strategic partnerships and alliances, ultimately taking the team approach to ensuring the client(s) achieve their optimal value in the deal. 
  • The oil change/body shop approach: Some providers compete on price and competency — not claiming to be the best, but good enough for less complex deals, at price-points below the leading providers.’ 
  • Gateway: Some providers use TAS services simply as a foot-in-the-door to gain entry to a client, often comping some or all of their services in exchange for deeper client relationships — where their money is made through extra-deal transformation projects (e.g., digital, operations, finance, etc.), during or post deal.  

Providers at the Leader rating level include Alvarez & Marsal, Bain & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, McKinsey & Company, and PwC.

Firms covered in the report include: A.T. Kearney, Accenture, AlixPartners, Alvarez & Marsal, Ankura Consulting, Aprio, Bain, Baker Tilly, Boston Consulting Group, Crowe LLP, Deloitte, EY, FT Consulting, goetzpartners, Grant Thornton, Houlihan Lokey, hu Consultancy, KPMG, L.E.K. Consulting, McKinsey, North Highland, Oliver Wyman Group, PA Consulting, PointB, Inc., Protiviti, Inc., PwC, Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, Rothschild, RSM International, Stax, Inc., Stout Risius Ross, Valley Biggs Technology, M&A, West Monroe Partners.

ALM’s Vanguard research series assesses firms in terms of their relative ability to create impact for their clients. In addition to its overall rating assessments of consulting providers’ depth and breadth of capabilities and best-in-class provider designations, this series includes detailed capability evaluations for each covered provider as well as a qualitative analysis of their consulting organization, approach, and service delivery model. 

For more information or to obtain the full version of The ALM Vanguard: Transactions – Acquisitions Consulting 2019 Consulting, visit the ALM Intelligence website:

ALM Intelligence will be hosting a webinar on the Vanguard report on Tuesday, July 23rd at 11:30 am ET. To register for the event and learn more visit:

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