By Destrier’s Simon Jones (LinkedIn / Twitter) and guest Ludovic Leforestier (LinkedIn / Twitter)

451 Research, one of the leading independent analyst firms has been acquired by credit ratings, benchmarks and analytics giant S&P Global. The deal marks expansion plans for 451 Research, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, and has around 90 analysts and 15 consultants on its roster.

Deal heralds further expansion for 451 Research
S&P says the acquisition “will expand and strengthen S&P Global Market Intelligence’s research coverage, adding differentiated expertise and intelligence with comprehensive offerings in technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), Information Security, Data Centers, Cloud and DevOps”.

It’s further growth for 451 Research, which recently announced an extension of its research agenda to cover the Middle East and Africa. Co-founder John Abbott told us: “This is exciting news for us, a chance to develop the business with more resources than we could have provided ourselves, and the fit is excellent, taking S&P into fast-growing emerging tech sectors.”

451 Research will be operated within S&P Global Market Intelligence, its division that provides data, essential insights, and powerful analytics to help navigate the financial markets. It’s a good tie-in for 451 Research, which is often engaged during takeover bids by buyers and sellers looking to determine an acquisition target’s true value.

“Subscription-based, recurring revenue businesses rock, says an $8bn Fortune 500 company. 451 Research fits the bill.” – William Fellows, co-founder, 451 Research

Split from the Uptime Institute
The deal splits 451 Research from the Uptime Institute, which it acquired 10 years ago. The 451 Group also bought Tier 1 Research in 2005, and acquired the remains of the Yankee Group from private equity firm Alta Communications back in 2013.

451 research claims to serve more than 2,000 client organizations globally through syndicated research, advisory services and live events. Based in New York, 451 has a major office in London and satellite offices in Boston and San Francisco.

Our take

  • We’ll have to wait and see whether this really is an expansion or an exit strategy for the founders. AR professionals should keep an eye out for the ongoing hands-on involvement of the 451 founders still involved in day-to-day research: Nick Patience, William Fellows and John Abbott, plus Chief Analyst Eric Hanselman and CRO Brett Azuma
  • Previous analyst firm acquisitions by content/information businesses have had a checkered history – see Ovum, Kennedy, Altimeter for example
  • This is a good time for vendors with 451 Research contracts to lock in their 2020 pricing, as takeovers often also bring price hikes
  • This is a chance for 451 Research to leverage S&P’s market presence to strengthen its competitive position in the M&A space against rivals like PitchBook Data