IBM Set To Acquire Sydney-Based Digital Consultancy Firm

Computing giant International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) is set to acquire the Sydney, Australia-based digital consultancy firm, Vivant Digital. The digital consultancy firm uses technology, data and behavioral science to assist clients in coming up with a business strategy and the acquisition is thus meant to bolster IBM iX, the digital transformation agency of IBM. Terms of the deal, which is expected to close before the year ends, were not disclosed.

The Sydney-based digital consultancy firm was started in 2008 and with a specialty in distribution industries and financial services, some of its clients include Australia Super, Qantas, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank. Currently the workforce of Vivant consists of between 50 and 70 workers who are located in both Melbourne and Sydney. Some of the employees will have be laid off though the exact number has not been determined.

36 studios

Though IBM iX did not reveal the employee headcount in New Zealand and Australia, the total number of workers that IBM iX employs is around 15,000 across the world in some 36 studios. Since 2016 IBM has acquired several firms in its efforts to develop its consultancy business.

After the acquisition is concluded the founder and chief executive officer of Vivant, Anthony Farah, will become the digital strategy lead for IBM iX in New Zealand and Australia. Farah’s stake in Vivant is 51% while his co-founders, Steven hernderson and Fouhad Serhal, each have a 24.5% stake. On the sides Vivant had a venture capital business which is best known for backing a virtual school based in Sydney. It also recently failed in an attempt to develop a hub in Barangaroo dedicated for startups.

Customer-centric focus

According to the global leader of IBM iX, Paul Papas, the two firms were closely aligned prior to the acquisition.

"Customer experience is a critical element as our clients develop their business strategy. IBM shares a similar design, consulting and management philosophy with Vivant, and our combined teams will raise the bar for experience-led, design-driven, digital reinvention," said Papas.

On Thursday shares of International Business Machines Corp climbed by 0.16% to close the day at $146.72 per share.