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FluidOne buys again and Leading Resolutions undergoes MBO

Changes in business ownership continue to be a feature of the evolving channel landscape, with FluidOne snapping up project five, and Leading Resolutions building on growth with a management buyout

Connected cloud player FluidOne has sealed its second acquisition of the year as it continues to add more managed services depth to the business.

The latest target of its mergers and acquisitions activity, project five, is a Camberley-based operation that sells managed services to hundreds of businesses across Surrey, Berkshire and Hampshire.

For FluidOne, the addition of project five will add a £30m revenue Business IT Centre of Excellence (CoE), with 930 customers, 134 employees and four branch offices, led from the Sheffield headquarters of the business it acquired in January, Highlander Computing Solutions.

The plan is to keep project five founder and managing director Steve Coburn involved with the business, in the form of a consultant to the board. Rob Reed-Roberts, commercial director, and Brad Cordell, technical director, will continue to lead their teams, reporting to Steve Brown, managing director of the FluidOne Business IT CoE.

FluidOne CEO Russell Horton said the acquisition was part of a strategy to establish a branch network providing managed services to customers.

“When reviewing the business, I was impressed with the excellent service they deliver and the strength of relationships that the team build with their clients,” he said. “They are a great fit to our strategy, and I look forward to working with Steve Coburn and the team to grow the Camberley business.”

In response, Coburn said FluidOne would be a good home for project five: “The FluidOne portfolio will broaden the service offering to our existing customers and the acquisition offers fantastic career opportunities to the project five team.”

Brown said the addition of project five meant it had more expertise to put in front of customers. “As a group, we are well placed to help them grow their base and further strengthen the proposition they can offer to their customers,” he said.

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 its managed services offering, as well as adding more UK coverage and industry expertise.

Meanwhile, IT consultancy Leading Resolutions has undergone a management buyout to start the firm’s next chapter.

The MBO was backed by regional investment specialist NVM Private Equity LLP. The operational board will comprise Pete Smyth as CEO, Sheila Bryant as chief operating officer and Paul Crowe as director of business development, with Jon Bance and Rob Chapman as consulting directors.

“This investment fires the starting pistol on the next stage of our development, building on the successful growth we’ve already achieved post-pandemic,” said Smyth.

“We’re a people-focused business, helping our blue-chip clients to deliver complex digital transformation programmes, working with talented individuals to maximise return on investment. This funding means we can speed up our client-focused plans to develop our services, bringing additional skills and experience into our core team. Our ethos and approach will remain unchanged: applying intelligence and pragmatism to deliver outcomes for our clients in a collaborative and highly cost-effective way,” he added.

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