The Forrester announcement about acquiring JupiterResearch got me thinking about which acquistions in the analyst industry worked and which ones did not. I thought I would call on the collective memory of the analyst ecosystem for the answers.
To help jog your memory here is Gartner Acquisition History (note that this is a selective subset and not a comprehensive list). See Forrester Research Timeline, a history, for some of Forrester’s M&A events. I could not find other lists so leave a comment if you know of other sources of analyst firm acquistions.
To get the ball rolling I’ll give you a couple of examples:
Gartner – Real Decisions (December 1993) – Winner as Real Decisions’ IT benchmarking services complimented the end-user advisory research and was an easy sell for Gartner Sales reps. Too easy as Gartner almost killed the Real Decisions analysts with way too many new clients in the first year.
Gartner – G2R, Inc. (February 1999) – Dud as all G2R analysts had bolted within four months and almost no G2R clients renewed their contracts.
Besides the many, many Gartner acquistions, here are a few other acquistions for you to comment on:
Forrester – Fletcher Research (November 1999)
META – SPEX (July 2000)
In-Stat – MicroDesign Resources (? 2000)
IDC – Meridian Research (2002)
Forrester – Giga Information Systems (February 2003)
Gartner – META Group (April 2005)
Ovum – Summit Strategies (July 2006)
Which other analyst firm acquistions that were not listed here were notible either for their success or failure?
Forrester buying Jupiter – smart, but not a big deal
Forrester acquires JupiterResearch – will the analysts stay or walk?
How about the Gartner acquisition of Dataquest back in the day? I’d rate that one a success.
There are a couple of other interesting ones too that come to my mind —
– Ovum’s acquisition of Summit Strategies
– In-Stat’s acquisition of MicroDesign Resources (who published the Microprocessor Report)
hi Gerry, Thx for the comment. I’ll add your other examples to the list in the main post.
I agree that Gartner buying Dataquest (December 1995) was a success. Gartner had sold its previous market research units (InfoCorp and COMTEC) in June 1991 and had been at a competitive disadvantage in the vendor market after that.
Gartner CEO Manny Fernandez who organized the acquisition had formerly been CEO of Dataquest.
I was a Gartner VP and Research Director working at Gartner’s Santa Clara offices when San Jose-based DQ was bought. While successful, the integration of the two cultures was extremely rocky and painful.
1996: Gartner acquired J3 Learning and Mindware (renamed Gartner Learning).
1998: Gartner dumped Gartner Learning. Acquired by NETg.
Success? Not so much…
Hi Maureen, Thanks for the comment.
Completely agee that the move into learning software was a fiasco. The sales skills for software vs. analyst services were so different.
Some day I’ll write the book about what Gartner passed on when it made the commitment to learning. Suffice it to say, technology coverage on the Internet could have gone in a very different direction.
hi Jonathan, Thanks for the comment.
That’s right! Gartner management was so preoccupied with the learning software effort that they did not want to invest the effort into building the ebusiness research team. However, they did throw $8m at Jupiter Communications when it was a startup.
Another one I remember well was Gartner’s acquisition of Griggs-Anderson Research, headquartered here in Portland. They were extremely competent and quite successful as a specialist in custom market research when they were on their own — we used them for some projects at Intel.
After snapping them up, Gartner turned them into “Gartner Custom Research” and spun them back out in 2005, I believe. They are still around, called GCR Insight, and still based here in PDX. I never knew the detailed reason why Gartner spun them back out.
Gartner buying New Science 1993. Again a cultural clash, although the new analysts really helped the firm out in my view. (I joined Gartner in 1994 when New Science was still a separate product line.)
Forrester buying Giga. Forrester, which had shot itself in the foot at the end of the 1990s, righted itself with this, especially as Giga leaders were given the task of integration and change. From the outside, smart M&A.
Gartner buying META. (I was at META when this happened.) Gene Hall said he wanted the sales force and he got them, as their earnings since show. Otherwise this was a “take out a competitor” move. Those analysts they wanted they got and after a shakedown have mostly kept. But it did what Hall wanted it to do (and that’s what he’s paid to do). A success.
The big point to remember is that NO business that is acquired by a research-centred firm has the margins research/advisory services do. So putting real effort into merging analyst companies (e.g. Forrester/Jupiter, Forrester/Giga) has a great payback since both have high margin capability. Adding benchmarking, consulting and (God forbid!) learning just eats into those margins, no matter how many synergies may exist.
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Depends who you are, analyst, vendor, customer, stakeholder, or competitor, and what geography you operate in.
As the analyst business become more and more focused on individuals (with the exception of Gartner), the value of buying a research outfit is getting similar to acquiring a consulting firm – the clients are largely tied to analyst relationships, hence the acquisition is only successful if you can retain the key talent. For analysts, if they are treated well by the new employer this should not be a huge problem, but some analysts may prefer working for a small organization and not feel comfortable with all the cultute, politics, process and metics posed by one of the more corporate research firms.
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