The 451 Group, parent company of enterprise IT research/advisory firm 451 Research and digital infrastructure services provider Uptime Institute, is purchasing mobile technology research/consulting company Yankee Group from private equity firm Alta Communications.

Yankee Group Provides Diverse Offering

Yankee Group offers a variety of mobile research and information. This includes white papers, visualization tools, free daily insights, analyst blog postings, webinars, conferences and privater consulting services.

In October 2012, Yankee Group launched a new platform called Mobile Advisory and Planning Services (MAPS) that the company describes as combining “highly actionable written research, survey data showcasing consumer attitudes and behaviors, market forecast data and daily analyst insights to help executives and mobile strategists implement, market and monetize successful specific mobile strategies.” The 451 Group says it plans to “dramatically expand” MAPS.

The ongoing explosion in the popularity of mobile computing undoubtedly makes a research and advisory firm specializing in the mobile space a more attractive acquisition. Yankee Group forecasts the global mobile market will become a USD $3 trillion global market opportunity by 2016. And as recently reported by CMSWire, Forrester Research data indicates 36% of online adults access the Internet via smartphone, tablet penetration has doubled in one year to 19%, and more than 100 million people will own a tablet by 2016. All those mobile consumers present quite a profit opportunity, both for companies marketing to them and companies advising the marketers.

Yankee Group Changes Hands Again

As reported by The Boston Globe, Yankee Group has changed hands several times since original founder Howard Anderson sold it to Primark for US$ 34 million in 1996. Anderson had operated Yankee Group since launching the company as a telecom analysis firm in 1970, when, as the Globe says, “the telecom industry basically began and ended with Ma Bell and her equipment suppliers.”

Primark more than doubled its money in a few short years by selling Yankee Group to media conglomerate Reuters for US$ 72 million in 2000 -- by which time mobility was already making its influence felt. Reuters then sold Yankee Group to private equity firm Monitor Clipper Partners in 2004 for an undisclosed sum, and one year later Monitor Clipper Partners sold it to Alta for another undisclosed sum.

According to the Globe, nobody at Yankee Group or 451 Group would say how many employees currently work at Yankee Group, but confidential sources say there are about 30 full-time employees worldwide, following several rounds of layoffs between 2008 and 2011. The 451 Group publicly says it has more than 200 worldwide employees (not counting Yankee Group employees).

The Globe quotes Yankee CEO Terry Waters, who reportedly will keep his position, as saying the firm uses some independent consultants and also performs data modeling through a Yankee-overseen partnership based in Bogota, Colombia. 451 Research and Yankee Group are both expected to maintain their Boston offices.

Post-acquisition, Yankee Group will operate as an independent division of The 451 Group. Terms of the acquisition were not released.