Singtel subsidiary buys Australian tech services firm ARQ Group for $290 million

Singtel subsidiary buys Australian tech services firm ARQ Group for $290 million

L-R: NCS CEO Ng Kuo Pin and ARQ CEO Tristan Sternson (provided).

NCS, the technology services subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications (Singtel, SGX: Z74), has today announced the acquisition of Australian digital consultancy firm ARQ Group (ARQ) for $290 million.

The move will expand NCS’ presence in the Australian market, and is the Singaporean-listed Singetel subsidiary’s fourth Australian investment in the past 15 months.

ARQ, founded in Melbourne in 1996, has a long-standing history as a digital services leader, and counts government agencies, top ASX-listed companies, and household brands like Qantas, NAB, Australia Post and Beyond Blue as clients.

The Australian tech company has been wholly acquired by NCS to join its digital innovation and services arm NEXT. Since December 2020, NCS has been scaling its presence in Australia through NEXT, which supports enterprises’ growing demand for digital transformation solutions.

The acquisition will see ARQ continue to operate across its existing markets of Australia and New Zealand, and now expand its services into Asia.

“This latest acquisition completes a jigsaw of strategic investments in Australia, ramping up our presence in a market that is critical to our regional expansion,” NCS CEO Ng Kuo Pin said.

“ARQ brings on board the right digital competencies that help create a highly compelling end-to-end digital transformation value proposition.

“Taken together, our four investments to date have given us the necessary scale, capabilities and credibility to compete as a regional digital powerhouse as we help governments and enterprises in Singapore and Australia achieve their digital transformation goals.”

ARQ CEO Tristan Sternson, who was appointed into the top role just two-and-a-half years ago, said the acquisition gives the Australian company a big opportunity to grow internationally.

“We are well primed for expansion, having grown our government footprint to over a third of our business, acquired many new customers and hired 300 new talents on board,” Sternson said.

“We intend to keep optimising NCS’ world-class IT and digital capabilities to keep building innovative solutions for our clients.”

ARQ’s 560-strong team will increase NCS’ headcount in Australia to 1,900 and build a robust tech talent pipeline to support the growing digital transformation needs of clients in the region.

The acquisition is subject to the receipt of the relevant regulatory approvals and is expected to complete by May 2022.

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