The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

CGI has become an international beacon of Quebec know-how thanks to its acquisitions

How can an acquisition strategy help strengthen and increase the renown of a company? The Chamber met with François Boulanger, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of CGI to discover the advantages and challenges associated with this growth strategy.

Acquisition: in CGI’s DNA

CGI has been relying on acquisition as a growth strategy since 1986, when the company began providing outsourcing. That same year the company went public in order to finance these services. Thirty-two years and several acquisitions later, including Logica in 2012, CGI has become a world-leader in its sector, with sales totalling more than $11.5 billion and 74,000 employees throughout the world.

"We have always grown thanks to our acquisition strategy. In fact, our strategy calls for 50% of our growth to come from acquisitions and the other 50% from internal growth. We think that in certain markets, acquisition is the right strategy to grow quicker."

– François Boulanger, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, CGI

Advantages and challenges

François Boulanger says that an acquisition strategy is a faster way to access new markets.

"When we want to set foot in a new country or a new area of the world, initially relying on an acquisition is a way for us to build a solid foundation and allows us to then grow organically. It’s a strategy that has always proven successful for us."

– François Boulanger, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, CGI

However, you need to be careful to not “fall in love” with an acquisition. Even if negotiations go smoothly, there are challenges – integrating cultures being one of the most significant.

"If you are not able to merge these crucial aspects, the transaction’s success will be at stake. You need to pay careful attention to them from the beginning."

– François Boulanger, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, CGI

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