Consolidation hits Microsoft channel with IT Lab and Content and Code tie-up

The combination of IT Lab and Content and Code will create one of the largest Microsoft partners in the UK

It has already been a summer of consolidation in the channel with numerous deals struck and it shows little signs of owing down as the industry enters the fourth quarter.

The latest deal to add to a growing list is IT Lab's move for Microsoft partner Content and Code in a deal that will create a combined entity with £60m turnover and 550 staff operating out of locations in London, Manchester and South Africa.

IT Lab has been given the backing of private equity players ECI Partners to since that relationship was struck in 2016 it has made no secret of ambitions to use acquisition as a route to growth.

Content and Code is the second deal that the firm has made in the last 18 months following on from an acquisition of cyber security player Perspective Risk last May. The details of the latest purchase have not been disclosed.

The combined IT Lab and Content and Code operation will be able to provide a wide suite of Microsoft services across the vendor's main technologies, including Office365 and M365; Azure, Dynamics 365 and SharePoint.

In terms of key personnel IT Lab chief executive Peter Sweetbaum remains at the head of the firm and Tim Wallis, founder of Content and Code will take on the role of Chief Digital Officer of IT Lab and will lead the future relationship with Microsoft.

"Content and Code has grown strongly and profitably over the last few years due to their depth and breadth of skills, accreditation and experience. They are regarded exceptionally well by Microsoft and their clients for their distinct expertise in key technologies that companies require for transformation and operating in the future," said Sweetbaum.

Wallis was also pleased with the way things had turned out: "The demand for IT services is growing at a rapid pace and we had been looking to join forces with another organisation for some time to take advantage of the opportunity.”

"Finding an organisation which could not only help us compete with the bigger providers in the market, but which also shared the same vision, ethos and culture as Content and Code was a challenge until we began talks with IT Lab. It is clear that this new partnership shares all the ambitions and values that we wanted," he added.

The results of the deal will also have an impact on the profile of Microsoft's channel because it will create one of the vendor's largest UK partners as a result.

“Content and Code has been one of our strongest and most trusted partners for as long as I can remember and has continued to set the benchmark for excellence in Modern Workplace," said Craig Fellowes, productivity sales director at Microsoft UK.

"This, coupled with IT Lab's domain and industry expertise make this is a very promising combination to provide our customers an even more complete solution and support. This new partnership will undoubtedly provide our customers with an additional and credible option to consider when choosing who they want to help migrate, deploy and manage their desktop environment," he added.

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