When Reuters acquired Yankee Group from Primark last summer, the $72.5 million transaction was part of a complicated two-step maneuver that saw Primark itself swallowed up by yet another financial data firm, Thomson Corp. of Toronto.
Nearly one year later, Reuters Enterprise, the investment arm of the London-based news and market data giant, is looking to pair Yankee with a rival in the crowded field for technology market research.
In April, Yankee hired Dean McCausland, whose background includes a four-year stint at Coopers & Lybrand, where he was a merger and acquisition advisor. Before joining Coopers, he was an auditor for three years in Arthur Andersen’s Boston office.
McCausland left Coopers in 1994, and since then he’s done two tours as CFO of biotech firms–Gamera Bioscience and Biodevelopment Laboratories- -both of which were later sold. He also spent a year and a half as CFO for the Boston-based networking firm Belenos Inc., where he helped raise venture capital for the company before joining Yankee Group.
Now that he’s in the market research field, McCausland is focused on shoring up Yankee’s position.
Reuters has “said that they are very much looking at opportunities in the industry,” McCausland says. In addition to Yankee Group, Reuters Enterprise owns several other market and technology research firms, including The Tower Group of Needham, Mass. and Datamonitor of London.
“My job is to help Yankee Group get to the next level,” McCausland says. With a crowded technology research field, there’s no reason that the next level couldn’t include the buyout of a rival firm.
McCausland says, “I would not be surprised if 12 months from now there were fewer competitors in this space.”
Even without a merger, McCausland says Yankee Group will be looking to align its activities more closely with other Reuters units. He mentions Instinet, the electronic communications network owned by Reuters that handles after-hours trading and large block trades for institutional investors, as one possible alliance partner, although he could not name specific joint efforts between the two businesses.
“We could work with any number of different companies in the Reuters portfolio,” he says.
As for what his hiring suggests about the broader career market for CFO job candidates, McCausland says he believes that corporations are eager to find CFOs who have some operational experience. While he was working in the biotech field, the firms that employed him tended to be smaller, and just by the nature of the environment, he had to assume some responsibility for day-to-day operations.
“That’s one of the benefits of working for a smaller company,” McCausland says. “You have a much broader operations role, and now I’m able to plug that in to Yankee Group.”