Next15’s data and insights group Savanta has announced the acquisition of the UK business of Future Thinking, which has 61 staff in offices in Oxford and London. Future Thinking France and the Gemseek division, which employ most of the Group’s c.350 staff, are not part of the deal.
Founded in 1982 as The Oxford Research Agency (TORA), the company changed its name to Future Thinking in 2010, and was merged with London-based SPA when the latter was acquired a month later by Future Thinking’s majority owner, private equity firm Next Wave Partners. The merged firm soon opened a Paris office, acquired The Munro Group and Essential Reseach, and sold its call centre.
The Paris office was expanded by a JV in 2012 to become Future Thinking France, with the JV partner bought out by the Group in 2014. In 2016 it acquired Bulgaria’s GemSeek Consulting Ltd, a specialist in data science, advanced analytics and customer experience research including NPS.
The UK branch of the firm offers qual and quant research, often combined with data science and behavioural economics. Its management team will remain with the business following the acquisition, and there will be ‘no immediate changes to the day-to-day running of the company’. Savanta, which was formed just a year ago from Next15’s four data and insight businesses, currently boasts five global offices and 286 staff, but promises that its ‘specialist Practices with deep expertise and nimble teams built around individual clients’ feel more like working with a smaller, ’boutique’ agency. Its offer includes the BrandVue and MarketVue reputation tracking solutions.
‘We welcome the Future Thinking UK team to Savanta with open arms’, says Roger Perowne, Global CEO at Savanta. ‘We’re joining together with a team of specialist consultants with the experience needed to advise brands on key decisions they face every day’.
Future Thinking Group Executive Chairman Simon Mason comments: ‘We are very pleased to have sold the UK business to such a well-known and capable operator in the sector in Savanta. Future Thinking UK has a very talented team of researchers and I think the combination of their expertise with Savanta’s capabilities is very exciting… Outside of this acquisition our other businesses – Gemseek and Future Thinking France – delivered very strong results in 2019 and there is much more to come from them in 2020 as they continue to align themselves to clients’ needs and provide innovative and exciting solutions for large businesses across Europe’.