M&A Strategy Drives PwC Spinout Guidehouse’s Expansion

In 2018, Big Four firm PwC spun off its public sector management and consultancy group, launching Guidehouse, a specialized business focused on government consulting. In the five years since then,

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the company has built deep public sector experience and is expanding into commercial, adding depth to core and complementary capabilities through a strategy driven by mergers and acquisitions.

In 2023, the company’s services span five industries: energy, sustainability, and infrastructure; health; state and local government; financial services; and defense and national security, with business roughly split 60% public sector and 40% commercial. In that time period, the business has reached revenue of $3 billion, largely driven by its M&A activity.

“Each of the acquisitions brought new capabilities as part of our investment thesis but also somewhat changed the scale between commercial and public sector depending on their backlog in their business,” said John Saad, Partner and Segment Leader for defense and national security at Guidehouse, on the American Society of Military Comptrollers’ The Business of Defense podcast. “But it’s all part of our plan to be relatively equally weighted in commercial and public sector.”

Guidehouse’s strategy has prioritized sharing knowledge across its public sector and commercial clients as a key differentiator, taking advantage of its scale and experience to bring more deeply-informed advisory to its clients. The strategy has been effective due to the company’s experience in highly complex and sensitive federal work, especially in cybersecurity, operational management, and financial management, lending significant credibility to its interactions with commercial clients.

Its public sector clients benefit too, with the firm able to more easily apply commercial practices in government by bringing in stakeholders from commercial clients to share new perspectives with public sector clients. The firm’s emphasis on diversity in hiring is helping it drive innovation, attracting talent from different places with their own unique perspectives and mission focus.

Saad said that Guidehouse is seeking to deepen its skillsets across national security and defense, with additional M&A activity planned to reinforce the firm’s digital offerings in the sectors, supplementing its existing advisory capabilities. Its 2022 acquisition of Grant Thornton’s public sector practice serves as an example of its commitment to its federal and local government clients, with more to come as it fills in where it has needs.