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Accenture Builds Financial Services Muscle With Formicary Acquisition

Accenture's newest acquisition may spell the start of the solution provider giant’s investment in blockchain financial platforms.

In a move that bolsters its capabilities in financial services, Accenture acquired capital technology markets consultancy Formicary, the solution provider giant announced Thursday.

Details were not released. The deal is expected to close following customary requirements, Accenture – No. 2 on CRN’s Solution Provider 500 list - said.

According to Bozhidar Hristov, an analyst who covers Accenture for Technology Business Research, this acquisition may become part of a foundation the company is building for a financial services platform that could support Bitcoin and blockchain technology for online retailers. He noted that Accenture recently acquired another financial consultancy and has been "looking into" blockchain technology.

[Related: Accenture To Acquire Industrial IoT Consultancy]

Blockchain is a public ledger of Bitcoin transactions according to Investopedia.com. The ledger continuously grows as each transaction, or "block," is added to a linear, chronological list, or "chain."

"It is good for Accenture … to have an understanding of the next wave of Bitcoin," the digital-based currency released in 2009, he said, "It could be the next disruption of the financial services industry."

In December, Accenture acquired Beacon Consulting Group, an asset management consultancy that added financial consulting capabilities and expertise to Accenture’s portfolio.

On Wednesday, Accenture announced that blockchain startup Crowdaura will join 15 other companies in Accenture's 2016 FinTech Innovation Lab London, the second time a blockchain startup was invited to join an Innovation Lab after Hong-Kong-based Bitspark was invited to last summer's FinTech Innovation Lab Asia-Pacific 2015.

Although Hristov said he can’t tell what Accenture’s exact intent is with the acquisition of Formicary, he said it could potentially be similar to the 2014 acquisition of I4C, which gave Accenture advanced analytics capabilities.

After Accenture acquired I4C, it merged it with its own intellectual property and resources to launch the Accenture Analytics Applications Platform and, more recently, industry-specific analytics applications.

According to TBR analyst Stephanie Artigliere, one thing is for sure: Accenture is looking to acquire more companies in 2016, having already bought two firms since Jan. 1 after announcing that it had allocated nearly $1 billion for acquisitions this year, 25 percent more than what it allocated last year.

"Accenture is always on the lookout," she said. "They have an aggressive acquisition strategy in place to get ahead of their competitors."

Artigliere said Accenture sometimes falls into "strings" of acquisitions, noting that the company had made a number of buys in energy and resources, as well as digital and interactive digital marketing services over the last year.

"This [Formicary] and Beacon Consulting may be the next string," she said.

Formicary's capabilities will fit firmly into Accenture's financial services operating group and will build an industry-specific talent pool that will fuel the company's consulting-led approach, Artigliere said. She added that the purchase will mainly add to the company's consulting and systems integration expertise.

The acquisition will bring with it 65 IT services specialists to Accenture's ranks and arm the company with better competency in financial trading systems consulting, systems integration and migration, as well as IT services and software.

"Formicary will help us strengthen our trading services capabilities to help financial services firms become more competitive and adaptive to change in continuously evolving markets.’ Owen Jelf, global managing director of Accenture’s Capital Markets practice, said in a statement.

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