It's only a few weeks since Ingeus was bought by the American company Providence. Now another w2w provider has been bought out, this time by a British company. Staffline has bought Avanta for £45m. It says that Avanta generates £70m, and all of this is in the w2w sector. The Financial Times says that the providers are "braced for a wave of consolidation as they seek to bolster their position ahead of the next round of contracts in 2016".
So is A4e going to be next? They were hopeful of going into profit a year ago, and if both Ingeus and Avanta are worth buying because they're making money, why not A4e? Is the brand too toxic? Is Emma Harrison too attached to her company to let it go?
All of this could be a problem for the government. Staffline reckons that the DWP is happy because "they want fewer bigger providers who are easier to manage". But, as the FT points out, it could well mean that these companies become "too big to fail".