Datacom buys into NetOptions

Datacom buys into NetOptions

Datacom has merged with integrator, NetOptionsions, as part of plans to drive into the Queensland market.

Under the new agreement, NetOptions will become a subsidiary of the Sydney-based services group. Its 50 staff will be absorbed into the Datacom business, bringing its total headcount to 630 people.

Current managing director, Richard McAlary, will remain at the helm of the organisation and will also join the Datacom board. In return, Datacom managing director, Michael Browne, will join NetOptions's board.

Browne said the deal was part of its long-term plan to establish itself in Queensland. It had previously serviced customers in that state remotely from its Sydney and Melbourne branches.

The company singled out NetOptions because of its longstanding presence as well as client history in Queensland, he said.

"NetOptions has a strong presence in the Queensland government which is far more significant than ours with other state governments," Browne said.

It also retained a focus on IT services and data activity which was core to Datacom's business, he said.

"We plan to accelerate the growth of NetOptions, primarily on the data services side," Browne said. "We'll also be looking for opportunities to augment activities in service desk support, and become more engaged in the overall design of network environments and deployments."

NetOptions managing director, Richard McAlary, said the two organisations had worked together on a trial basis since May. His company had provided engineering services and support for Datacom's recently announced $10 million deal with Norfolk Group.

Both were also working on opportunities in Malaysia, he said.

"We have some large customers, but with the depth of services we'll access with Datacom, we expected to get a bigger share of that space," he said. "We'll also aim for much more business in the regional markets outside of NSW and Victoria."

Plans to expand into other states, such as South Australia, would also be pursued once the merger was completed, McAlary said.

NetOptions will continue to operate under its original name in Queensland. However, its Melbourne and smaller Sydney operations have been integrated into Datacom's main facilities.

Both organisations would share IT services, as well as financial management and reporting, and best practice procedures, Browne said.

"We will also integrate consultants in terms of certifications and have mixed teams," McAlary said.

The new merger will see investment partner, the Schiavello group, divest its stake in NetOptions. The Australian-based designer and manufacturer of furniture acquired a share in the company four years ago.

Last year, Browne told ARN the company would look for further acquisitions in Australia to fill the gaps in its systems integration capabilities. That comment followed its purchase of the GlobalCenter business as well as SolNet assets.

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