ManTech International has taken a 100 per cent stake in Melbourne-based reseller and IT services firm Praxa, after overcoming the competition with an all-cash transaction.
IT services company ManTech, which already owned 53 per cent in Praxa, chose to buy the remaining shares rather than selling out to an unnamed multinational company that made Praxa an unsolicited bid some months ago.
ManTech is a particular interest in the Australian company's Microsoft expertise. Praxa was named worldwide Microsoft Solutions Provider Partner of the Year in 1996, and ManTech has already identified Australia as an open playing field for its Vobix arm, a US-based hosting software company focused exclusively on Microsoft technologies.
In turn, ManTech's large technical personnel base and worldwide presence offers Praxa expanded access into new markets and business partners. Colin Holgate, CEO of Praxa, says the company is already working on a couple of mega-prospects that it hopes will eventuate into deals.
While the company will become a wholly owned subsidiary of ManTech, it will not be a branch office, and partners and customers will see minimal impact here in Australia, according to Holgate.
"We're putting more effort into consolidating the vendor relationships but Praxa has no plans to undergo another restructure. We have a three-year plan and we're now in the execution stages," he said.
After laying off 63 staff in November last year, Praxa is hiring again, looking for the very best in business development and professional services. "At this stage we're being very selective. We have just appointed one person and we're looking at another three in the coming weeks," says Holgate.
Praxa has had a rough trot over the last couple of years, plagued by shrinking margins in the product business. Holgate came onboard last September to refocus Praxa's operations on core competencies in IT infrastructure, systems integration and multimedia streaming.
He says the transition was difficult, particularly in the midsts of a softening market. "But we have come out the other end and we're profitable."
Praxa is banking much of its future growth on Microsoft's .Net strategy, dedicating a team of 80-plus people to a specialist division that will focus on delivering .Net technology. Holgate says Praxa is looking to build long-term strategic relationships rather than transactional deals with clients.