Accenture to work on sale of Brazil's state-owned tech firms

The global consulting firm is part of a consortium that will be modeling the process of privatization of Serpro and Dataprev, companies responsible for thousands of government systems and data projects.

The Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) has announced the winner of the tender for the modeling the process relating to the privatization of two of the country's largest state-owned technology companies.

The Social Security Technology and Information Company (Dataprev) and the Federal Data Processing Service (Serpro), - companies accountable for the development, maintenance, and operations of thousands of government systems as well as major data-related government strategy and projects - will be sold in 2021.

The disposal of Serpro and Dataprev forms part of Brazil's major privatization plan that aims to raise 1.3 trillion reais (US$ 253 billion) by 2022.

The winner of the contract is a consortium comprising of the Brazilian subsidiaries of global consulting firm Accenture and PR firm Burson-Marsteller, as well as law firm Machado, Meyer, Sendacz, Opice e Falcão Advogados.

The scope of the contract, which is valued at 7.9 million reais (US$ 1.5 million) includes the privatization modeling work, as well as services required for conducting market research, national and international sectorial diagnosis and regulatory studies.

The companies will also be tasked with proposing "alternatives to privatization, and conduct other specialized professional services necessary for the structuring and implementation of privatization processes" relating to the state-owned companies.

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In addition to the winning consortium, other consortia were involved in the process, each involving a law firm and a major consulting multinational: EY and KPMG, as well as Oliver Wyman and Terrafirma led groups that submitted proposals.

The announcement of the consortium tasked with moving the sale of the Brazilian public sector companies forward follows a review of the privatization schedule announced in April, prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Under the new plans, the sale of the assets, initially planned for June 2021, was pushed to the fourth quarter of next year.

When the sale was announced in August 2019, employees at Dataprev released a manifesto raising concerns over the future of information belonging to millions of citizens.

"[Serpro and Dataprev data] could shift to private servers - this would undermine the security of information of almost all citizens that are in the social security system. This could compromise national sovereignty over extremely sensitive data," the manifesto argued.

The manifesto argued that Dataprev was profitable and did not rely on federal funds, and that organizations responsible for such a massive repository of critical data should not be on the government's privatization list.

"By relinquishing its own technology to buy third-party solutions, giving up the possibility of developing technologies in this field and becoming just a passive consumer, Brazil is moving in the opposite direction when compared to developed countries," the document noted.

"This is a policy that will widen the gap that separates us from other nations that focus on investing in research and technology."