IBM Set To Acquire Sydney-Based Digital Consultancy, Vivant

Computing giant IBM has announced that it will acquire Vivant Digital, a digital consultancy firm based in Sydney, Australia. Following the acquisition Vivant Digital will be absorbed into iBM iX, an agency of IBM which assists business organizations in making digital transformations. Some of the Australian clients of IBM iX include Coca Cola Amatil, Water Corporation, Qantas, Telstra and ING. Vivant Digital’s Australian clients include Optus and Australian Super.

According to the chief executive officer and founder of Vivant Digital, Anthony Farah, the digital consultancy firm has an employee base of slightly above 50 though the number fluctuates depending on the workload. Vivant Digital currently has a presence in both Melbourne and Sydney. After the acquisition Farah will be in charge of running IBM iX in both New Zealand and Australia. The deal is expected to be concluded before the year ends.

Ongoing negotiations

Per Farah negotiations are still underway on how many employees of Vivant Digital will be retained by IBM. Currently there are 15,000 employees of IBM iX spread across 36 studios which are located all over the globe. IBM iX would not however reveal the exact number of employees in Australia.

Vivant Digital was Farah’s second startup and was launched in 2008. Farah’s previous startup was Gravity, which was service provider in the telecommunications industry. This will not be his first time working for IBM as an executive as he was a lead principal of the computing giant’s user experience team almost two decades ago.

Controlling stake

Terms of the deal were not revealed though it is expected that proceeds of the sale will go to Farah and two executive directors of the digital consultancy since the firm has never been externally funded. Farah has a controlling stake of 51% in Vivant Digital while executive directors Steven Henderson and Fouhad Serhal share the remaining stake equally between them per the most recent regulatory filings of the company.

“We now have scale and greater opportunity to address the growing needs of CEOs and innovation leaders willing to disrupt the market by seeking out new business models. We see it as converging the best of big with the best of small,” Farah commented with regards to the acquisition.

On the side Vivant Digital also operated a venture capital business though it is no longer accepting new investments. The venture capital arm of Vivant Digital had recently backed a virtual reality school based in Sydney. Though the bid aborted this side business had also tried to put up a hub for startups in Barangaroo.

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