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Navigant Consulting Inc. (NCI - Analyst Report) recently announced its acquisition of Easton Associates (Easton) – an international consulting firm dealing with companies from the life sciences industry. This acquisition should bolster Navigant’s presence in the highly competitive and regulated life sciences industry. Easton brings more than 40 consulting professionals to several of Navigant’s existing locations including New York, Chicago and London, forming a team of around 90 professionals.

Founded in 2000, Easton provides clients business solutions related to strategy development, opportunity assessment, due diligence, product planning and more. Years-old association with large pharmaceutical firms also speaks of its ability in the concerned areas of action. Hence, we believe that the acquisition fits in with Navigant’s product portfolio and is in sync with its key long-term strategy. These companies can derive substantial synergy from the deal as both operate in the same vertical.  

Opportunities associated with healthcare reforms continue to drive demand as the industry seeks expertise to improve profitability and address increasing regulatory pressure for compliance. In the second quarter of 2012, the Healthcare segment grew 13.1% year over year driven by strong demand in the field of healthcare as well as life science practices.

Navigant’s previous acquisitions in health care like EthosPartners Healthcare Management and Paragon Health coupled with the recent one are expected to enhance and help achieve its operational goals as well as augment opportunities associated with health care reforms. Further, increased complexities in pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and diagnostic industries should be resolved more efficiently.

Since 2005, Navigant has been on an acquisition binge to boost its expertise in all aspects of its business. It acquired A.W. Hutchison & Associates and the Canadian forensic accounting and litigation consulting practices of Kroll Inc. in 2005, Precept Programme Management in 2006, Abros Enterprise Limited Bluepress Limited, all the assets of AMDC Corp. and Troika (U.K.) Limited in 2007, Chicago Partners LLC and The Bard Group LLC in 2008, Morse PLC’s Investment Management Consulting Business and Summit Blue Consulting in 2009, Empiris LLC, Daylight Forensic & Advisory LLC and EthosPartners Healthcare Management Group in 2010, Ignited Discovery in July 2011, Paragon Health in October 2011 and Pike Research in July 2012.

Navigant currently retains a Zacks #3 Rank, which translates into a short-term Hold rating. However, we are maintaining our long-term Outperform rating on the stock. Some of the competitors of Navigant include CBIZ Inc. (CBZ - Snapshot Report) and Gartner Inc. (IT - Snapshot Report).

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