New York, NY – London-based expert network, CognoLink announced last Friday that it had assumed the operations of Epito, the leading expert network covering the Nordic markets. The agreement closed on June 8, 2010 and became effective on June 9th, 2010.
Emmanuel Tahar, CEO of CognoLink explained the acquisition by noting that “Epito is the number one expert network in the Nordics with a strong presence across Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. Like CognoLink, it was recognized for its excellent matching capabilities. The complementary geographic focus and shared operational excellence had a great deal to do with why this agreement makes sense for both of our companies.”
More on CognoLink and Epito
In the 4th Quarter of 2009, Integrity Research published its latest ResearchFocus report on the global expert network industry in which CognoLink was found to be the top specialist network in Europe. The firm received good ratings from customers for their match quality. In addition, Integrity Research found that CognoLink had the strongest compliance framework of all European-based expert networks evaluated.
The deal to acquire Epito follows CognoLink’s recent capital raise in the 1st Qtr of 2010 to finance innovative initiatives and accelerate growth efforts. At the time CognoLink explained that it would use the proceeds to execute on its aggressive growth plan; innovate in the expert network space; and expand its geographic footprint and industry coverage.
Epito, founded in 2007 by Anders Wendelius and Jacob Alvarsson, had become the leading provider of expert network services focused on the Nordic region. Wendelius and Alvarsson plan to remain with CognoLink in charge of account and business development for the Nordic region. Epito’s research and project management responsibilities will be assumed by CognoLink’s research team located in London.
Based on Integrity’s 4th Qtr 2009 ResearchFocus study, Epito garnered excellent scores across a range of ratings criteria, including match quality and cost effectiveness. Epito’s customers were generally highly satisfied with the service and compare it favorably to other major competitors.
Cognolink’s acquisition of Epito makes strategic sense as it enables CognoLink to expand its geographic presence, giving it the ability to better serve clients with requirements throughout Europe, including the Nordic countries. Earlier this month, CognoLink announced that it had expanded into China with the opening of an office in Shanghai.
The recent financing, the opening of an office in Shanghai, and the acquisition of Epito all suggests that CognoLink is aggressively trying to move itself from a regional boutique to position itself as a major provider of global expert network services, in direct competition with other global providers including Gerson Lerhman Group, Guidepoint Global, and Coleman Research.
Despite CognoLink’s recent strategic initiatives, the firm still lacks a significant offering or presence in the US market. However, given the large number of expert network providers in North America, and the struggles seen in the US financial markets in 2008 and 2009, we would not be surprised if CognoLink tries to acquire one of the smaller US players in the future.