While not yet widespread, the indie research industry has started to see a growing number of external investments in the space, a trend that highlights the dynamic and exciting nature of the industry.
For example, in November 2003 T.A. Associates, a leading private equity and buyout firm, announced a $60 million investment in forensic accounting firm CFRA. In January 2004, Bessemer Ventures led an $20 million minority investment in primary research firm Gerson Lehrman. In January 2004, Global Insight, a significant information company, picked up a 10% stake in Best Independent Research, with options that could lead to 51% ownership in 5 years. Such inflows point to increased interest by investors in the independent research space. They could be positioning themselves to take advantage of a spate of consolidations in future.
While such a trend might be seen by some in the independent research industry as a welcomed “exit strategy”, the growth in consolidations, joint ventures, acquisitions, and strategic investments in the independent research industry could pose a challenge for some players in the market. This is due to the fact that, over time, acquisition, investmets, etc. will provide the capital, analytical resources, marketing clout and economies of scale that will help create winners and losers in the industry.