Iris acquires pricing specialists Pricing Solutions to add to consultancy offering

Iris has acquired Canadian-based Pricing Solutions in a move that will extend the network's global management consultancy capabilities into pricing strategy.

Ian Millner, chief executive of Iris
Ian Millner, chief executive of Iris

A spokeswoman for Iris declined to disclose the cost of the deal but confirmed that it could be described as a "multi-million dollar deal". 

The acquisition will give Iris its first office in Canada through the acquired company's headquarters in Toronto. Pricing Solutions also has franchise agreements in Europe and Asia-Pacific and works with a portfolio of blue chip clients. 

Following the acquisition, Pricing Solutions will be integrated globally into Iris' management consultancy, Iris Concise. 

Iris will be rolling out the Pricing Solutions proposition globally, with pricing hubs set up in Iris Concise teams across 14 offices. The Pricing Solutions brand will continue to exist within Concise as a product offered as part of its skillset. 

Founded in 1993 by Paul Hunt, Pricing Solutions is one of the leading pricing consultancies and has reported an average annual growth rate of more than 10% over the past three years. Hunt will stay on as president of the company. 

"Pricing is one of the most important elements of a client’s business and one of the things that make the biggest impact on a client’s profitability," Ian Millner, chief executive of Iris, said. 

The goal, he continued, is to extend the skills of the Pricing Solutions team across Iris' entire network. 

"It’s not a rarity for a client to come forward with a brief around pricing  ‘we want to be worth the premium consumers are paying – how can we justify that price’," Hunt said, adding that as far as he was aware, this offering will be unique within the agency world. 

R&D Venture Partners acted as financial advisors to Pricing Solutions.

Iris' investments into the area of management consultancy have been, in a sense, the agency response to management consultancies acquiring agencies, such as Accenture's acquisition of Karmarama

It acquired Concise in 2008 for £5m, and since then has added CRM and data specialist Datalytics to its offering. 

This evolution is absolutely necessary for the ad industry, Millner said: "There is absolute chaos in the market at the moment. Every week a new story comes out about agencies feeling the pressure and the client trust crisis. Agencies need to think much harder about what skills they need in order to be more relevant, valuable and distinctive."

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