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Focus Cloud Acquires Microsoft, ServiceNow Cloud Talent Provider Cognitive Group

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IT recruiting firm Focus Cloud has acquired specialist Microsoft recruitment firm Cognitive Group. Together, the new Focus Cloud Group will specialize in recruiting across major cloud platforms, Microsoft, Workday, SAP, Salesforce and ServiceNow, as well as the life sciences and cybersecurity industries, the companies said.

This is technology M&A deal number 766 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2022. See more than 2,000 technology M&A deals involving MSPs, MSSPs & IT service providers listed here.

Focus Cloud Acquires Cognitive Group

Focus Cloud, founded in 2015, is based in London, England. The company has 159 employees listed on LinkedIn. Focus Cloud's areas of expertise include Workday HCM, recruitment, cloud, Workday, Workday Financials, Adaptive Insights, technology recruitment, ERP recruitment, HR transformation, digital transformation, Workday Payroll, Workday Studio, Workday Integrations and Workday Recruitment.

Cognitive Group, founded in 2007, is based in London, England. The company has 44 employees listed on LinkedIn. Cognitive Group's areas of expertise include Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Dynamics 365, Power BI, Azure, AI, tech recruitment, cloud, data platform, infrastructure, business applications, data lakes, D365 CE, D365 F&O, data security, Power Platform, Power Apps and Power Automate.

The new Focus Cloud Group will be headed by CEO Lloyd Gordon, founder of Focus Cloud. The current CEO of Cognitive, Jonathan Keen, will become the chairperson for the new group. This partnership combines the experience and success Cognitive has in Microsoft recruitment solutions with Focus Cloud's repertoire of Workday, SAP, Salesforce, ServiceNow and cybersecurity recruitment services, the companies said.

Focus Cloud Group: Executive Perspectives

Lloyd Gordon, CEO, Focus Cloud
Lloyd Gordon, CEO, Focus Cloud

Jon Keen, CEO, Cognitive Group

Lloyd Gordon, Focus Cloud CEO, commented on the acquisition:

"When I set the business up in 2015, I did so with one thought in mind, to build a global cloud recruitment powerhouse that everyone could be proud of. Despite the global pandemic hitting a few years later, the company has gone from strength to strength. Throughout the Covid crisis, we focused on doing everything we could to support not only business growth, but also our clients, candidates and our people. We stuck to our promise to retain our people and even hired those who had been made redundant by other recruitment firms. I'm a believer in having faith in yourself and those around you and it really paid off, resulting in the firm coming out of the pandemic in such a strong position financially that made this acquisition possible."

Jon Keen, CEO of Cognitive Group, added:

"This deal is good for the future of both businesses as we aim to grow Cognitive and the wider Focus Cloud Group internationally. Our staff owns 20% of the Cognitive brand and this investment enabled all shareholders to benefit, with further significant equity opportunities set out for this next period of expansion. While there have been other opportunities to gain investment into the brand in the past, the cultural fit has never really hit the mark for us, but with Lloyd and the Focus Cloud team, there's an incredible match in visions and values that make this a perfect fit. Since we launched Cognitive Group back in 2007, our focus has always been on providing the best experience for our colleagues, our clients and our candidates, and Lloyd's passion and enthusiasm not just for the business but perhaps more importantly, the people that make Focus Cloud a success, resonates with what Cognitive Group believes in. The team at Cognitive - who have done a terrific job especially during the challenges of the past three years - are all looking forward to supporting the growth aspirations of our clients, our candidates and of the new Focus Cloud Group over the years ahead."

IT Staffing and Recruiting M&A

Although IT staffing business valuations are rarely announced, it’s clear that strategic buyers, investors and private equity firms maintain a strong interest in the IT staffing market.

Why’s that? Surely, the talent shortage across cybersecurity, multi-cloud services, robotic process automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and other fast-growth areas generated strong demand for IT staffing firms. Here’s a sampling of the associated M&A deals that ChannelE2E has covered:

August 2022: Talent solutions firm Digital Intelligence Systems (DISYS) acquired MAKE Corporation, a professional and IT recruiting firm.

June 2022: The Planet Group, backed by private equity firm Odyssey Investment Partners, acquired Future State Consulting, a technology talent and consulting solutions firm.

May 2022: Vega Consulting, an affiliate of American CyberSystems (ACS), acquired technology staffing firm Volt Information Services.

January 2022: Motion Recruitment Partners, backed by private equity firm Littlejohn & Co., acquired Matrix Resources, an IT staffing company focused on Agile & DevSecOps consulting, and telecom managed services talent.