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Digital Engineering Services Companies, a surefire weapon in the PE Investment Arsenal, says Zinnov

·6 min read

- 45% of all Mergers & Acquisitions in 2020 were in the Digital Engineering space

- PE deals in Digital Engineering Services in the first half of 2021 have already surpassed the numbers in 2020; Hitachi's acquisition of GlobalLogic and Apax Partners' Infogain deal are prominent

NEW YORK, Sept. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Zinnov, a leading global management and strategy consulting firm's recent study "Investment and Value Creation in the New Digital Normal" evaluated the global Digital Engineering Services space by analyzing 3000+ PE transactions in the overall Technology Services segment across buyouts, growth capital, and add-on acquisitions. The global Private Equity (PE) landscape, Zinnov stated, has had an increasing focus on Digital Engineering and its evolution over the last six years. Zinnov investigated multiple parameters across transactions, including deal types and sizes, valuations, and multiples on the buyer side to understand the accelerated investments in the Digital Engineering space. It also assessed key parameters such as revenue, EBITDA, growth, headcount, delivery regions, type and quality of service offerings, etc., on the asset side.

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The Rise of Digital Engineering Service Providers in the Post-pandemic Era

As witnessed over the last 18 months, the complexities of the pandemic have forced years of technological advancements to happen within a short period. The accelerated adoption and implementation of digital technologies have resulted in the convergence of IT and ER&D spends by companies competing to become leaders in their digitally transformed industries. New-age technologies have become a strategic tool to strengthen businesses across industries, and Digital Engineering Service Providers are a critical cog in that endeavor, noted the study. The growing demand for Digital Engineering Service Providers across verticals and the positive market reaction is reflected in their higher valuations as compared to traditional IT firms.

Over the past year, Zinnov has observed and tracked strategic acquisitions (M&A) within the Digital Engineering space, that have accounted for 45% of all M&A transactions in 2020. What stood out was that while traditional IT firms like Capgemini (which acquired Altran) and Cognizant (Softvision) are actively pursuing Digital Engineering firms to consolidate their market position, PE investors are not far behind in tapping this newly available opportunity. Newer digital skillsets that offer agility and a resilient business model have become key differentiators for Service Providers in the post-COVID digital world.

Private Equity Players and the Digital Engineering Opportunity

Zinnov's analysis shows that the post-COVID era has seen the highest number of PE deals in the Service Provider space in the last five years, with a CAGR of 19.8% from 2015 to 2020. In fact, the number of deals in the first half of 2021 has already surpassed the numbers in 2020, including some large deals such as the Hitachi's acquisition of GlobalLogic (from Partners Group & CPPIB at 37X EBITDA) and of Infogain by Apax Partners. These large ticket deals are a testament to the growing interest in the Digital Engineering space, and the exponential valuations of these firms as compared to their IT counterparts a clear indicator of the opportunities in this space. Zinnov has been at the center of such deals by helping investors make the right strategic decisions in this space.

Recently, Zinnov acted as the sole commercial advisor to a UK-based PE firm, BC Partners ("BC Partners"), on their investment in Valtech, a global leader in digital services and business transformation. The transaction, announced in July 2021, valued Valtech at USD 1.4 Bn and is expected to close in Q3 2021. Valtech designs, builds, and delivers transformative digital solutions for some of the world's leading brands. It is forecasted to deliver a 30% revenue growth in 2021, and this new investment is expected to further strengthen its technological capabilities and help drive geographical expansion to enter newer markets.

Today, more than ever, Digital Engineering Service Providers are looking at the best value creation drivers to attract higher investments or to generate higher returns for their investors as they become critical players in the PE playbook. Zinnov's expertise in the Digital Engineering space and years of experience as a commercial advisor to many a strategic PE deal, has enabled them to curate a list of frameworks that can help evaluate an asset at its true potential. The need of the hour is to put digital strategies at the core of every fund, making it integral throughout the cycle of a deal for sustainable value creation.

Pari Natarajan, CEO, Zinnov, said, "The more than one-third of the overall global Engineering R&D spend (USD 1.5 Tn in 2020) being channelized towards Digital Engineering by enterprises emphasizes the potential and the opportunity that this space holds for larger players and investors alike. More than 45% of all M&A deals taking place are in the Digital Engineering space, which further underscores the rising interest and the impending opportunity. A trifecta of factors – an informed investment thesis, a robust due diligence framework, and deploying the right mix of value creation levers – are key to a successful PE investment in the Digital Engineering space. As companies grapple to adapt to the new and evolving digital normal, we will witness large ticket deals across the board."

About Zinnov

Founded in 2002, Zinnov is a global management and strategy consulting firm, with a presence in Santa Clara, Houston, Chicago, Bangalore, Gurgaon, and Paris. Over the past 19 years, Zinnov has successfully consulted with over 250+ Fortune 500 enterprises to develop actionable insights to help them accelerate value creation – across dimensions of both revenue and optimization. With core expertise in Digital Engineering, Digital Transformation, Innovation, and Outsourcing Advisory, Zinnov assists clients by:

  • Advising global PE firms in asset shortlisting and target evaluation, commercial due diligence, and value creation;

  • Structuring and implementing Digital Transformation levers enabled by technologies like AI/ML, Cloud, IoT, and RPA;

  • Helping global companies outline and drive their open innovation programs, design and operate accelerator programs, and enable collaboration with start-ups across specific use cases and predefined outcomes;

  • Enabling global companies to develop and optimize a global engineering footprint through center setups, and technology and functional accelerators to achieve higher R&D efficiencies, innovation, and productivity;

  • Growing revenue for companies' products and services in newer markets through account intelligence, market-entry, and market expansion advisory.

With their team of experienced consultants, subject matter experts, and research professionals, Zinnov serves clients from across multiple industry verticals including Enterprise Software, Hi-Tech, BFSI, Healthcare, Automotive, Retail, and Telecom in the US, Europe, Japan, and India.

For more information, visit http://zinnov.com.


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