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Cristina McEachern
Cristina McEachern
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IDC Acquires Meridien in Quest for International Financial-Services Research and Advisory Firm

IDC expands its reach into the financial-services technology world with the acquisition of Meridien Research.

IDC, a technology and e-business market intelligence and advisory firm, is expanding its reach into the financial-services technology world with the acquisition of Meridien Research. IDC will build upon Meridien's financial-services research groundwork in order to form a new combined company run independently of IDC.

Michon Schenck has been tapped to serve as chief operating officer of the yet-to-be-named research and advisory company. She says that the new company will expand Meridien's research team to become more of a global presence in the industry. "One of the challenges in the capital markets industry is that it is a global industry with participants all around the world with specialized, regionalized requirements," says Schenck.

She adds that while Meridien on its own was a very good, small company, IDC can lend the corporate structure and resources necessary to grow and expand. More than half of IDC's 700 analysts are outside of the U.S. in more than 50 countries. "Our plan is to leverage the infrastructure that is already in place," says Schenck.

She adds that while the total investment and hiring plans are yet to be finalized, the new company should have between 50 and 70 researchers on a combined basis by the end of this year, building on Meridien's 20 to 25 analysts. "We're really broadening the service and also deepening the service," says Schenck.

She explains that while Meridien was a leader in the spaces where the company focused, the new company will expand into other areas of the securities industry as well. "The buy side is becoming progressively more active in terms of making their own technology investments as soft-dollar investments are eroding and we see that as an opportunity and a market that needs to be served," says Schenck.

"We've put together a pretty aggressive investment plan on the research side in terms of global expansion and also on the sales and marketing side so that we will be able to provide a nice alternative to somebody out there like TowerGroup," she says.

Larry Tabb, vice president of the Securities and Investment Practice at TowerGroup, responds, "We look forward to the competition because competition drives people to work harder but in the end we expect to continue to increase our penetration in the market and continue to do great research." He adds that while IDC has a history of international reach, "every market is different and it's not an easy thing to do." Tabb says that TowerGroup is continuing to build its European and Asian presence.

While the financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, Schenck says that the new company will be based out of IDC's Framingham, Mass. headquarters as a separate company. She says the company name, product offerings and pricing plans should be rolled out in the next 60 days.

Schenck has 20 years of financial-services experience, most recently as president and chief operating officer of Financial Fusion. She also served as a management consultant and analyst at TowerGroup with Meridien co-founders Bill Bradway and Deborah Williams.

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