Hitachi buys U.S. consulting group

Hitachi Ltd. announced late Wednesday the first big step towards its goal of becoming a leading IT consulting and systems integration provider. The Tokyo-based company said it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the e-Business Consulting Group of Grant Thornton LLP, the sixth largest accounting and management consulting firm in North America.

Hitachi will pay around US$175 million for the business which it hopes will enable it to gain a stronger position in the international IT consulting sector. Earlier this year when it announced a bold new business strategy designed to better position it in the expanding new economy, Hitachi said it wanted to add IT consulting to its business line-up and offer a wider menu of services than just hardware supply.

The company is aiming to build a $1 billion global IT services business over the next five years through a combination of acquisitions and investments.

According to Hitachi, the group it is buying has a core competency in e-business, IT consulting and systems integration for mid-size and Fortune 1000 companies. When the acquisition is complete the group will form the core of a new company to be created. Hitachi said an IPO (initial public offering) of the new company is possible in the future if it becomes significantly larger.

Hitachi, in Tokyo, can be contacted at