Financial Services Play: Perficient Acquires ForwardThink Group For $46 Million

As part of a move to extend its reach into the financial vertical, Perficient acquired ForwardThink Group, a technology consulting firm for the financial services industry, for $46 million, the companies said Tuesday.

The deal is the largest acquisition in terms of value for Perficient, a St. Louis-based information technology consulting firm, though not the largest by head count. Perficient will pay $30 million in cash and the rest in common stock for ForwardThink Group.

Acquisitions always have been a key part of Perficient's growth strategy, CEO Jeff Davis told CRN, with the company averaging two to four deals a year to fill any gaps or respond to a new opportunity in the services it brings to market.

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"[ForwardThink Group] will be our face to the market from a financial strategy consulting standpoint and lead the way. We're really going to regear our financial services team around this [deal]," Davis said.

Perficient's health-care and vertical businesses add up to roughly half of the company's business, Davis said, and the financial vertical will now come closer to taking the top spot with the deal. Beyond that, ForwardThink Group adds depth to the management consulting side of the financial vertical, where Perficient had been more focused on the technology side. The change will deepen and extend Perficient's end-to-end financial services capabilities, according to Davis.

"The combination of strategy and technology should be right in the sweet spot," he said.

Perficient will add more than 100 new employees to its head count and ForwardThink Group will be fully integrated within the company going forward.

Perficient's annual revenue is rapidly approaching $430 million, said Davis, adding that the company is poised for more growth. This year, Davis predicted the company would close more acquisitions than usual, expanding in the health-care, life sciences and retail verticals once the ForwardThink Group's acquisition has settled in. It will be looking at companies in the $10 million to $15 million annual revenue range, he said.

"We're going to continue down the path," Davis said.