The Saint John-based service company, which has offices in Halifax, Fredericton and St. John’s, said in a statement it had signed a letter of intent to join EY. The organization’s 60 employees will all be joining the international firm.
“We decided last year that we were going to embark on a growth strategy, only we envisioned it would be as independent company,” said Ambir CEO Ian Cavanagh in an interview Thursday afternoon. “But this opportunity presented itself, and the opportunity to join forces with a global firm like this is a very exciting one.”
He explained that in the fallout of the Enron scandal in 2001 the large accountancy firms were forced to divest their business advisory units. But eventually they learned to operate within new regulations and began to grow that side of the business again. EY has been growing aggressively, and several of its five acquisitions in Canada in the past four year have been designed to bolster its business advisory division.
Cavanagh, who was a finalist in EY’s prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2010, said there would be no layoffs because of the transaction. And he stressed that the two companies complement one another very well in terms of business mix and culture.
Ambir’s award-winning business and IT consulting services team is focused largely on technology, whereas EY’s advisory business concentrates on business development. So there is little overlap.
“We’re proud to be aligning EY’s brand and global reach with Ambir’s unparalleled client service and sector expertise,” Trent Henry, EY’s Canadian Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “Ambir truly is the leading independent IT and business consulting firm in Atlantic Canada. We’re looking forward to building game-changing services, together.”
The two sides have been working on the deal for about six months, and Cavanagh said they have learned the cultures at the two organizations are remarkably similar.
“I would never have done this deal if we couldn’t tick a couple of key boxes,” he said. “Strategy is one and another is culture. We found someone we have a great cultural fit with and I wouldn’t have expected that in a big company.”
He added EY is passionate about growing in Atlantic Canada, and the addition of the team from Ambir will help achieve that goal.
Cavanagh is a former board member of PropelICT and said he will continue to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship in the region.