Chicago-based data science company Sagence is due to be acquired by Big Four firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), in a deal that is expected to close before the end of the year. The purchase, PwC’s fourth acquisition in the past year and a half, comes as part of the firm’s strategy to grow its consulting services business and boost its data science and AI capabilities.
Sagence will join PwC’s analytics insights business, helping the firm continue to provide best in class advisory services focused on data and analytics strategies. The acquisition will bring new data scientists, data engineers, and experts in artificial intelligence and machine learning into its fold. Joining staff bring certifications in Amazon Web Services and other cloud applications as well as industry-specific knowledge and experience in financial services and healthcare, adding to PwC’s ability to advise private equity clients.
“A lot of clients are wrestling with big volumes of data from a lot of different places: Some of those are legacy old systems — they’re on premise — and some of them are on the cloud,” said Jenny Koehler, a strategic growth and business development leader at PwC. “Sagence has a continuum of professionals that can actually architect the optimal data structure . . . for the future.”
PwC’s previous tech acquisitions were also centered on strengthening its presence in the consulting space, with the purchase of EagleDream Technologies in November 2020, Applications Consulting Training Solutions in March 2022, and Netrovert in June 2022.
Those three acquisitions strengthened PwC’s cloud services presence in the market, adding additional cloud transformation, modernization, and enterprise integration capacity to its already impressive portfolio. The purchases will help PwC build a strong advantage against other large accounting and professional services firms in addition to boosting clients’ internal tech capabilities.
The most recent purchase comes at a time where accounting firms are taking a fresh look at the profitability of their accounting versus advisory practices, with rival EY preparing to spin out its consulting division into an entirely separate company from its audit business. PwC itself underwent a reorganization in 2021, separating its U.S. firm into two segments: one focused on assurance and tax reporting, the other a consulting services practice specializing in cybersecurity, digital, cloud, business transformation, and other transformative areas. In general, consulting has proven to be a vastly more profitable endeavor than audit, pushing firms to find ways to free themselves from potential conflicts of interest and reap greater profitability.