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FluidOne dips back into M&A market

Cloud player FluidOne is expanding the business less than a year after its last move as it continues to expand its portfolio and reach

Connected cloud player FluidOne has joined the ranks of channel players making acquisitions early in 2023 as it adds further UK coverage and more managed services depth.

The firm has moved to pick up Sheffield-based Highlander Computing Solutions, which provides managed services to an SME customer base. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal will give FluidOne a base in the North of England and increase its revenues by 35%. The deal comes less than a year after the firm made an investment in Microsoft Gold Partner Marathon Information Technology Services.

The plan is to keep running Highlander Computing under the leadership of current managing director Steve Brown, with the business becoming a centre of excellence for IT managed services for FluidOne customers with up to 200 employees.

FluidOne’s IT teams in Cheltenham, Colgate and London will become the basis for a network of branch offices that provide local account management and engineering expertise.

Russell Horton, FluidOne CEO, said that Highlander’s services would complement its own offerings, “further strengthening our Connected Cloud solutions, as well as enabling us to bring a strong IT service offering to small and medium enterprises”.

“As I got to know Steve and his senior team, I realised what a strong fit they are to our strategy, with loyal and skilled staff, excellent customer service, and a portfolio that fills gaps in our IT offering,” he said.

“We have worked together on a joint strategy with ambitious plans to scale out Highlander as a centre of excellence within the FluidOne group, leading a branch network of SME IT services in addition to their strength in enterprise IT infrastructure,” he added.

Brown is not the only senior Highlander staying in the business, with the firm’s long-standing chairman Rich Field continuing to work with the firm as a consultant to the board of directors.

FluidOne has been growing through acquisition and strategic investments. As well as making the Marathon move last May, the firm also snapped up managed SD-WAN player SAS Global Communications in January 2022.

The theme of its acquisitions has been to add more technology expertise to bolster a managed services offering, as well as adding more UK coverage and industry expertise.

FluidOne is not alone in using M&A to expand the business – this week has already seen consolidation with EvolveODM buying and Trustmarque picking up software asset management player Livingstone Technologies. Despite talk of interest rate rises, inflationary fears and the prospects for a recession, the private equity community has remained committed to the channel.

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