Leger boosts healthcare expertise with IFOP
September 06, 2013 | Chris Powell | Comments
International acquisition has research firm gunning for Ipsos
Toronto-based research and strategy business Leger has given its healthcare practice a shot in the arm with the acquisition of market research firm IFOP North America. Financial terms of the deal, announced Thursday, were not disclosed.
IFOP’s client roster features several major pharmaceutical companies, including Bristol-Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi and Merck Canada, as well as a robust consumer insight practice that includes L’Oreal Canada, Yoplait, Danone, Scotiabank and La Senza.
It is the third acquisition in the past year for Leger, which now has more than 600 employees throughout its 10 offices in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. According to chief marketing officer Dave Scholz, it is now a “clear number two” in the Canadian market research business, behind Ipsos Canada.
“Scale and size is always important, but the primary motivation was to move in a more dominant way into the healthcare space,” said Scholz, adding that the IFOP acquisition complements Leger’s “strong” U.S. healthcare practice and a smaller healthcare practice in Canada.
“Without that base healthcare expertise in Canada, we weren’t really able to go out and complete the business in the capacity we wanted,” said Scholz. “From an expertise level, we’ve [become] a full strategic consulting research organization; with the addition of some great new researchers, and the expansion of our own staff, it’s really put us more into that consultative role rather than a collect-the-data role.”
Leger and IFOP had only one shared client, in the healthcare sector, although the two companies were working on separate product lines. “There is no cannibalization,” said Scholz. “It’s a combination of two companies that were working side by side but never against each other.”
Scholz said that the IFOP acquisition offers revenue growth opportunities both in North America and globally. Europe currently accounts for about 10% of Leger’s revenues, but Scholz said that the company is committed to growing its overseas business.
Formerly known as Leger Marketing, the company dropped the word “marketing” from its name in June. Scholz said it was detracting from the company’s consulting practice, particularly in the U.S. The new name – which also includes the descriptor “The Research Intelligence Group” – harmonizes Leger’s Canadian, U.S. and European operations, he said.
Leger is part of a global network called Worldwide Independent Network/Gallup International, comprised of 77 of the largest independent market research and polling firms in their respective countries. Member firms boast combined revenue of more than $680 million.
IFOP North America managing director Eric Dubois joins Leger as co-president and managing director of its Toronto office, working closely with Rachelle Deshaies, who has been promoted from executive vice-president of Leger Toronto to co-president, head of research.
IFOP will be folded into Leger’s operations, although Leger will move into IFOP’s current office space at 2 Bloor West in Toronto.