1.24.19
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Gartner’s 50 Acquisitions

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The IT market research goliath Gartner has acquired 50 companies since it went public in 1993. Scatterplot rounded up all 50 M&A deals from the past three decades along with price tags for many of them.

Gartner went public (for the second time) more than 25 years ago. During these past three decades the company claims to have acquired “more than 32 companies”, but it only highlights a few of them on its corporate website.

While others have managed to cobble together lists that get close to the 32 number, Scatterplot has unearthed more than 50 M&A transactions carried out by Gartner since its most recent IPO in 1993. Scatterplot found acquisition prices for many of these deals, including high-profile transactions that had undisclosed terms at the time of their initial announcement.

1993 to 1997: 16 M&A Deals

In 1993 Gartner absorbed competitor New Sciences Associates, which was also based in Stamford, Connecticut. New Sciences was founded in 1985 by former Gartner analysts and focused more on emerging technologies than its eventual acquirer. It grew to a headcount of 38 and $3.8M in annual revenue by 1990, according to Inc. Magazine. In 1993 Gartner also acquired Real Decisions, which offered an IT benchmarking service that complemented Gartner’s existing offerings.

In 1995 Gartner inked one of its bigger M&A deals: It bought Dataquest from Dun & Bradstreet for about $80 million. Up until that point Gartner had mostly sold to IT managers at large companies, while Dataquest mostly sold its services to hardware and software vendors. That same year Gartner made a pair of international acquisitions: MZ Projekte and Nomos Ricerca. MZ Projekte offered research and advisory services focused on the German, Swiss, and Austrian technology market. It also published four newsletters and produced the PC Trends conference. Nomos focused on the Italian IT market and offered custom consulting, market research, and technology assessment services. It had about 10 million Euros in revenue and a headcount of 25 when it was acquired, but no price tag for the deal emerged. Gartner’s fourth and final acquisition in 1995 kicked off its brief foray into corporate training: The company bought a majority interest in Relational Courseware, Inc. (RCI), which was a developer of computer-based training products. RCI continued to operate independently but took advantage of Gartner’s distribution channels and it could tap its analysts to help build material.

Gartner snapped up four more companies in 1996. Two of those built on Gartner’s corporate training interests: Mindware Training Technologies and J3 Learning Corporation. J3’s training software focused on desktop applications, operating systems, relational databases, networking technologies, and developer languages and tools. Gartner bought J3 for $45 million and it combined it with Mindware and Relational Courseware to form Gartner Group Learning. The division grew from $4 million in revenues in 1995 to $35 million before Gartner sold it to Harcourt General in 1998. Gartner also purchased healthcare-focused research and consulting firm C. J. Singer for a rumored price of about $4.3 million. And its fourth acquisition in 1996 was Productivity Management Group, a consulting company that bolstered GartnerMeasurement with project management software. While unconfirmed, the PMG price was rumored to be about $2 million.

By 1997 Gartner was in full acquisition spree mode with six more deals. The company bought a sizeable stake in corporate training company Fox Industries for an undisclosed price. It also bought Australia-based telecommunication research firm East Consulting, research products from SPG that focused on the Australian and APAC markets, French IT publisher Bouhot and Le Gendre, and Swedish consulting firm Informatics MCAB. Finally, Gartner acquired Datapro from McGraw-Hill for about $25 million. Datapro tracked product specifications and pricing and offered product comparisons, technology reports, market overviews, case studies, and user ratings surveys.

1998 to 2000: 18 M&A Deals

Based on deal volume alone, 1998 was Gartner’s most acquisitive year with nine transactions. Gartner bought the Research Board, an IT research firm known for its exclusive event for CIOs, for $12 million. It also acquired UK and Hong Kong-focused IT advisory firm Wentworth Research for $8.3 million, longtime competitor Griggs-Anderson for $18.2 million, total cost of ownership software provider Interpose for $8 million, and conference company Vision Events International for $20.5 million. It also acquired France-based Norbert Miconnet Information Technology Advisors for an undisclosed sum, and Argentina and Chile-focused AICC Consultores and Technology for $2.4 million. Finally, it acquired financial services industry-focused IT advisory Mentis Corporation as well as Irish IT consulting firm National Institute of Management Technology.

In 1999 during the lead up to the dotcom bust, Gartner had yet another banner year of acquisitions with seven deals. It bought telecommunications-focused research firm Rendall and Associates for $12 million, IT procurement advisory firm Computer Financial Consultants for $16 million, and IT consulting for government agencies specialist Warner Group for $18 million. It also snapped up IT research and consulting firm G2R for $15.6 million, consumer technology researcher INTECO for $4.8 million, the System Builder Summits in Europe, and a majority stake in website satisfaction monitoring firm cPulse for $3.5 million.

In early 2000 Gartner inked its ill-fated $78.5 million deal for online tech media firm TechRepublic. After injecting about $50 million into TechRepublic, it ended up selling TechRepublic a year later for about $23 million. Gartner’s last acquisition of the millennium was its $9 million deal for Solista Global, a strategy consulting firm that merged business and technology expertise.

2001 to 2018: 17 M&A Deals

The first decade of the new millennium was a slow one for Gartner’s M&A team. In fact, six out of the ten years saw zero deals for the analyst firm. Gartner acquired the Midsize Enterprise Summit and AIMS Management Consultants in 2001. AIMS, an India-based research firm, fetched just $800,000. In 2002 Gartner acquired the remaining 49 percentIt had acquired a majority stake in the company at a previous time, but the date and price tag of the first half of the deal is difficult to pin down. of People3, a human capital management consulting practice, for $3.9 million. In 2002 Gartner also acquired cybersecurity event Sector 5 Summit for an undisclosed amount.

In 2005 Gartner made a big move and acquired one of its IT research and consulting rivals, META Group, for $160 million. In 2009 it bought two other sizeable competitors: AMR Research and Burton Group for $63 million and $56 million, respectively. AMR differentiated itself with a focus on supply chain management, while Burton stood out for its in-depth, technical expertise.

In 2012 Gartner acquired Ideas International, an enterprise IT research firm that was publicly listed in Australia, for about $18 million. In 2014 Gartner acquired its longtime partner Market-Visio, which was headquartered in Finland but had a presence in Russia, for $6.6 million. That same year it acquired Israel-based SircleIT, maker of cloud-based automation software and better known as Senexx, for $5.7 million. In 2014 Gartner also bought software buyer consulting firm Software Advice for $135 million.

The following year, 2015, brought two more acquisitions, but Gartner made the odd decision to only disclose the aggregate purchase price of the two companies, even though they were separate entities. Gartner purchased crowdsourced software recommendation site Capterra and a similar company called Nubera eBusiness, better known as GetApp, for an aggregate purchase price of $206.2 million. Some websites list the Capterra acquisition price tag at $206.2 million without noting that the number includes the price of the GetApp deal too.

In 2016 Gartner bought machine-to-machine and Internet of Things specialist market research firm Machina Research for $4.5 million. It also acquired London-based subscription-based research and conferences company, SCM World, for $49.2 million.

In 2017 Gartner announced its two most recent acquisitions: L2 and CEB. Gartner bought L2, a subscription-based research firm that benchmarks the digital performance of brands, for $155 million. The New York City-based company had 150 employees. Finally, Gartner’s largest acquisition — by far — is also its most recent one: CEB. On April 5, 2017, Gartner acquired CEB for about $2.6 billion but the company considered the aggregate purchase price to be about $3.5 billion. CEB was a publicly listed company based just outside of Washington D.C. with some 4,900 employees. Its main offering was subscription-based, best practice research and analysis covering human resources, sales, finance, IT, and legal.

Gartner made no additional acquisitions in 2018 while it continued digesting its multi-billion dollar deal.

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