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In February 2016, when management advisory giant Deloitte acquired Heat (then a 112-person San Francisco shop), a sense of unease settled in on Madison Ave. Was the oft-repeated rumor—that consulting firms were looking to compete more directly with agencies and subsequently eat them alive—finally coming to fruition?
Since then, the industry has seen a string of similar acquisitions as companies like Accenture continue to buy up primarily independent, mid-sized shops around the country. But questions remain as to how these firms are managing their newly-acquired agency assets.