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Air IT gains Scottish foothold with SoConnect

Managed service player expands its UK coverage with second acquisition of the year

Serial acquirer Air IT has struck again in a move that will strengthen its position north of the border and provide it with a base to increase its nationwide coverage.

The firm has picked up Edinburgh-based SoConnect to add more coverage in Scotland, gain more expertise and widen the customer base.

Adding the Scottish firm takes its nationwide staff to 570, and provides the chance to offer a range of services to thousands of small and medium-sized enterprise customers. 

SoConnect is particularly keen to take advantage of Air Sec, the security offering that has been developed by Air IT.

“With a mission to make IT feel effortless, SoConnect is a fantastic cultural fit with an accomplished team that shares our values and commitment to delivering an exceptional customer experience,” said James Steventon, CEO of Air IT.

“With a complementary skillset and extensive experience of Microsoft cloud and communication solutions, we’re very much looking forward to having them on board,” he added.

In response, Gordon Sayers, CEO of SoConnect, said the tie-up would  offer its staff and customers more opportunities. “This acquisition not only expands our horizons, but also enriches our capabilities, and opens up exciting opportunities for growth and innovation,” he said.

Business as usual

As a result of the deal, Campbell Fraser, who founded SoConnect in 2011, will be stepping down from the executive chair role. He will continue to work with Sayers and the Air IT team to further grow the business in Scotland. But that is the only change, with the rest of the SoConnect team staying intact and running the business as usual.

Air IT sealed its 12th acquisition in the space of four years back in March, when it picked up SCS as it continues to follow a buy-and-build strategy to expand the business across the UK. The firm has been around since 2005, but the past four years have seen the business regularly acquire other MSP firms as it looks to establish a leading position in the UK market.

The company was active in the M&A space last July, picking up Yorkshire-based Vital Technology Group in a move designed to bolster its Microsoft skills.

The SoConnect, SCS and Vital deals have come after Air IT appointed Paul Vanstone as head of corporate development with a brief to drive its M&A strategy forward.

Consolidation in the MSP market has been a fairly constant feature, and was named as one of the main themes of last year in the recent MSP market update  from Drake Star.

The report found there was a 54% increase in mergers and acquisitions – 37 across the US and Europe – in the managed services market in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared with the previous quarter.

A desire to add skills, technology expertise and more customers was behind the surge in activity.

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