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PA Consulting adds Sparkler to the mix

Acquisition will strengthen the digital and brand strategy side of the business

PA Consulting Group has moved to pick up digital insight and strategy player Sparkler to add more depth to its own activities in that area.

Sparkler, which is 17 years old, has 60 staff and a customer base that includes Microsoft, eBay, Sky and Sainsbury's. The terms of the deal were undisclosed.

The combination of that business with PA should give the firm that chance to react to the customer call for help navigating changing competitive landscapes.

Andy Katz, who leads PA’s strategy team, said that it was important to add a human dimension to the digital world, which is where Sparkler came in.

“Customer needs, behaviours and expectations are changing at an unprecedented pace. At the same time, the traditional distinction between products and services is blurring, with new ways to create value emerging. Many markets are now being disrupted both from within and by new entrants. As a result, it’s vital that organisations get even closer to their customers and create relevant products fast," he said.

Sparkler’s founding partners, John Robson and Magnus Willis, said that it had delivered decent growth over the last three years as the market for digital insights increased.

“Becoming part of PA enables us to continue on this upward trajectory. Understanding the human side of the digital world is essential to all businesses and we will now be able to bring our expertise to more clients, in more markets, more swiftly," the founders stated.

PA Consulting issued research this morning warning that airports were not ready to fend off a major cyber attack.

The report, Overcome the Silent Threat, concluded that having passengers in airports that wanted fast internet and digital engagement was increasing the opportunities for cyber criminals to exploit.

“Fundamentally, the focus on physical security needs to be applied with the same rigour in the cyber arena if airports are going to build resilience to potentially catastrophic cyber attacks. If the industry does not act now, it will find itself at increased vulnerability to cyberattacks as new technologies become part of everyday operations," said David Oliver, global transport security lead at PA Consulting Group.

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