HR consultancy Buck completes sale to H.I.G. Capital

24 August 2018

The sale of Conduent HR Services to private equity firm H.I.G. Capital, announced in May, closed earlier this month. The global HR consultancy has been rebranded as Buck, and will be headquartered in New York. The frequently acquired and rebranded consultancy (since the turn of the millennium, at least) traces its roots back to 1916.

There and Buck again

Buck traces its roots back to 1916, when George B. Buck Sr. started an actuarial firm in New York City. Over the years, the firm expanded its services across the category of human resources, remaining independent until 1997 when it was bought by Mellon Financial. The first of a series of name changes came in 2003 when Buck Consultants was rolled into Mellon Human Resource and Investor Solutions. Two years later, Mellon’s HR business was acquired by Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), and reintroduced as Buck Consultants. Xerox acquired ACS in 2010, and later rebranded Buck Consultants as ‘Buck Consultants at Xerox.’

In 2017, Xerox spun off its Business Services division (which included Buck Consultants at Xerox) as Conduent. As such, Buck’s name was changed to Conduent HR Services. The brand switch wouldn’t hold for long: in May of 2018, Conduent HR Services was sold off to private equity firm H.I.G. Capital. With the closing of the deal earlier this month, the HR consultancy has now been rebranded simply as ‘Buck.’

The transaction’s completion relaunches an independent, global, integrated HR consulting, benefits administration, and technology services firm. The firm will be headquartered in New York; in its previous incarnation the consultancy had about 1,500 employees across North America and Europe in 2016.

HR consultancy Buck completes sale to H.I.G. Capital

"As an independent entity operating under the relaunched Buck brand, we are well-positioned to grow across all aspects of our business,” said Jack Freker, Chief Executive Officer at Buck. “With global scale and best-in-class technology, combined with our deep bench of experienced and passionate professionals, we are proud to continue serving as a trusted partner to our clients.”

“Buck is uniquely positioned amongst its competitors as a nimble, agile, and client-centric provider for customized solutions to drive positive health, wealth, and career outcomes for employees. We are eager to embark on this new chapter of accelerated growth and investment in our organization, employees, technology, and capabilities."

The rebranded HR consultancy is backed by H.I.G. Capital, a private equity firm based out of Miami, which has about $25 billion in equity capital under management. The firm was founded 25 years ago by Sami Mnaymeh and Tony Tamer – a former partner at Bain & Company. The company invests in management buyouts, recapitalizations, and corporate carve-outs of both profitable and faltering manufacturing and services firms.

"Buck is an excellent platform within the integrated HR consulting and outsourcing space,” remarked Matt Lozow, Managing Director at H.I.G. “We've invested in an exciting organization with a full suite of services, differentiated technology, global scale, an exceptionally talented group of employees and leaders, and unparalleled client tenure."

"We look forward to further helping Buck scale its existing services and build new solutions for a dynamic marketplace."

According to Buck’s website, the consultancy will be focusing on investing in new technology, solutions, and lines of business, while also introducing new ideas, approaches, and ways of thinking. More details about the new Buck are expected to be released in October.

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OneDigital buys Northwestern Benefit in company's largest acquisition yet

11 April 2019

Human resources and benefits consultancy OneDigital Health and Benefits has acquired Northwestern Benefit, the largest privately held benefits broker in Georgia.

Atlanta-based OneDigital has carried out an aggressive acquisition strategy in past years, completing 28 deals in 2018, as well as five in 2019 thus far. Its recent acquisitions have included consulting firms Paradigm Group, Cherry Creek Benefits, and Veritas Risk Services. OneDigital’s rapid expansion last year boosted annual revenue by $100 million in 2018, reaching $400 million.

OneDigital’s core offerings include strategic benefit advisory services, analytics, compliance support, human resources management technology, and insurance broking. The firm has more than 80 offices in the United States.

The consulting firm has continued its accelerated growth strategy with the purchase of benefits and HR consultancy Northwestern Benefit, which is also based in Atlanta. “This represents an exciting milestone for OneDigital, where our largest acquisition to date is also located right here in our home state of Georgia,” Adam Bruckman, CEO of OneDigital, said. “Northwestern lets us compete in the Atlanta benefits marketplace in an entirely new way.”OneDigital buys Northwestern Benefit in company's largest acquisition yetThe acquired firm was founded in 1996, and provides benefits, HR, compliance, wellness, education, and workforce planning advisory services to clients in George and across the US. Northwestern Benefit’s 150 employees will join OneDigital, bringing the firm’s headcount to over 1,600 employees, and its employer client count to approximately 50,000.

OneDigital’s chief growth officer, Mike Sullivan, highlighted Northwestern’s excellent sales culture and client service models as factors in the deal, while noting that the deal will significantly expand the firm’s middle market scale and capabilities. Sullivan expects more deals on the horizon, as OneDigital seeks to scale up further. “We expect north of 25 acquisitions again this year to bring us over the $500 million revenue threshold,” he said.

David Asbury, CEO of Northwestern Benefit, will join OneDigital as a senior managing principal. “As the benefits space continued to consolidate and we considered acquirers, it was incredibly important to me to find the right partner,” he said. “With OneDigital’s scale, reach and long-term vision, we knew our organizations would fit together and be stronger together right off the bat.”

As employment levels remain at record highs, employers are increasingly turning to effective and comprehensive benefits packages in order to attract and retain a dwindling pool of talent. HR and benefits firms help employers strategize the ideal benefits and compensation packages to get the talent they need, while doing so in the most cost-effective manner. “In a rapidly changing economy, an employer’s ability to attract and retain talent is often directly tied to the benefits they can provide, and OneDigital ensures we’re supplying our clients with the most robust health, wealth, and HR advisory services,” Bruckman said.