What happened

Last year, Gartner, Inc. (NYSE:IT) pleased investors, as the research and advisory company advanced 22%, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The market reacted favorably to strong growth in Gartner's traditional business and progress on the recent CEB acquisition.

Happy businesspeople.

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So What

Gartner acquired advisory services and best-practices firm CEB in April, which rendered meaningless the headline year-on-year revenue and earnings comparisons for the bulk of 2017. Traditional Gartner revenue, a figure that removes revenue attributable to CEB, advanced at a 14% pace for the fiscal year on the back of strong demand for the company's research services.

Post-acquisition generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) earnings per share (EPS) also were impacted by the CEB acquisition. In fiscal year 2017, management gave guidance that acquisition-related costs would be $4.20 lower per share. Adjusted EPS, which excludes acquisition-related losses, are forecast at $3.45 per share in 2017, a figure 50% higher than the company's 2016 GAAP EPS earnings of $2.31.

Now what

The addition of CEB broadens Gartner's traditional technology-focused research and advisory services in information technology, marketing, and supply-chain services with CEB's best-business-practices focus. The acquisition will allow the new, combined company to identify new opportunities, and cross-sell opportunities among existing clients.

Look for Gartner to continue to grow traditional revenue at a double-digit clip. Additionally, the CEB acquisition is adjusted-earnings accretive, and will boost adjusted EPS in 2018. Look for improvements in GAAP earnings in future years as the impacts of acquisition normalize, and cost synergies arise.

Jamal Carnette, CFA has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Gartner. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.