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Air IT and Onecom keep consolidation trend going

Both firms have dipped their toes back into the acquisition waters after making recent purchases

The channel is no stranger to the concept of consolidation, but the pace of deals is keeping the acquisitions coming thick and fast, with MSPs in particular looking to expand their operations.

Managed service provider Air IT has been using a buy and build strategy for a while, and has a track record of announcing two deals at once. It did that back in October 2020 and again in December, and has followed that up with the purchase of InfoTech Solutions (UK) and Concise Technologies.

The latest deals give the firm more UK coverage, with InfoTech in Kent and Concise, based in Cheshire. It also takes the group’s headcount up by 50, with an additional 250 customers coming on-board.

“Both InfoTech and Concise Technologies have outstanding reputations, and we are thrilled to have them on-board,” says John Whitty, CEO of Air IT. “We know they will be a great fit for the Air IT group, considering their remarkable track record when it comes to customer service and satisfaction.

“We want to be regarded as the de facto MSP of choice for SMEs across the UK, and these acquisitions allow us to expand our footprint and gain skilful, like-minded team members,” he said. “Entering the North West has always been one of our strategic goals, along with future growth in the North East, and we now have the capability to deliver a national offering, serviced locally, which is so important to SMEs.”

David Southern, managing director of Concise Technologies, said that becoming part of a larger group would give it the chance to provide more support to customers.

“We’re excited to join forces with a group of forward-thinking MSPs who recognise the value of digital transformation and world-leading service,” he said. “Technology has proven critical in continuing business operations over the past year and we look forward to helping our clients further realise their goals through the innovative new services and support that we will now be able to provide.”

Expanding service offerings

Jason Foord, managing director of InfoTech, echoed those sentiments. “Being part of this select group will allow us to expand our service offerings whilst we bring to the table our expertise in the financial, construction and manufacturing sectors,” he said.

Meanwhile, telco player Onceom has also been active, making its second acquisition after it picked up Olive Communications back in February.

The target this time has been the 9 Group companies, with the deal including 9 Retail, which has over 5,000 telephony, hosted voice and on-premise customers and 9 Partners, which supports 450 indirect channel partners, with connectivity solutions, localised customer service and billing and analytics.

LDC backed Onceom back in July 2019, and since then the firm has made four acquisitions, including this latest one. The result of those deals is that the firm is now able to operate a business well beyond its mobile roots, with broadband, cloud telephony, contact centre and collaboration all on offer.

Trading separately

The plan is to keep the 9 Group companies trading separately so they can keep their current routes to market. James Palmer, founder and CEO of 9 Group, will remain with the business along with his management team.

“This is a highly significant strategic acquisition for Onecom Group, strengthening our portfolio and further diversifying our revenue streams by adding a large non-mobile telephony provider and a fantastic channel partner community as a new route to market in one move,” said Martin Flick, Onecom CEO.

“Supporting and investing in channel partners is essential to our ambition as we go forward. We have a well-established footprint in enterprise and the mid-market, and the acquisition will help us, through valued partners, drive sales of our exceptional products and services to businesses of all sizes, with a high degree of proximity to customer need that only a channel can deliver to SMBs at this scale,” he added.

In response, James Palmer, CEO of 9 Group, said it was joining forces with a firm that shared common values.

“I am excited about bringing our two businesses together and working with the Onecom team so that customers and partners across the board benefit from new opportunities of scale and increased capability,” he said.

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