Melbourne IT Group (ASX:MLB) has announced its official transformation from a business selling domains and hosting to a services and solutions provider, a move which comes complete with its rebranding as Arq Group.
Melbourne IT has acquired several businesses throughout the past four years which helped it change its business completely.
"Acquisition has always played an important role in our growth and evolution – but never has it been more significant than in the past four years," Melbourne IT CEO, Martin Mercer, told shareholders on 26 April. "And so naturally, this new chapter in our story begins with the unification of the incredible businesses, cultures, and people that have come under our roof.
"By forging them into a single, resonant brand, we will become more true to our vision, more capable of achieving our goals, and more able to offer our customers something truly unique," he said.
After extensive brand reviews, Melbourne IT will propose the name change to Arq Group during the organisation's next annual general meeting (AGM) to be held on 28 May.
The idea is to bring all the brands together under a new unique brand, this includes Netregistry, a retail online services provider for small to medium businesses (SMBs) founded in 1997, acquired for $50.4 million in 2014.
Infoready, a data and analytics provider for enterprise and government markets was acquired by Melbourne IT in March 2016 for $15.4 million. At the time of the acquisition, Melbourne IT said that he InfoReady data analytics capability will substantially complete Melbourne IT’s enterprise services strategy and enables it to become an end to end provider of digital solutions for the corporate and government market.
In February 2017 was time for the company to finalise its acquisition of app developer Outware Mobile. In June 2015, Melbourne IT bought a controlling stake in the business by acquiring 50.2 per cent of Outware for $21.7 million. At the time of the deal, Melbourne IT had options to acquire 100 per cent of Outware within the next two years, bringing the deal's total value to $67 million.
Not long after, in May 2017, Melbourne IT announced plans to acquire digital marketing agency WME Group for $39 million.
All of these brands, along with Webcentral, a business acquired back in 2006, will be under the new brand Arq Group.
"Four short years ago, there were approximately 280 people in our business selling domain names and flavours of hosting," Mercer said. "Today, we employ more than 800 people and most of them are working on projects, and performing roles that did not exist four years ago."
Mercer also told shareholders that the company expects to welcome between 300 and 350 new employees in 2018, which would take its headcount up to 1150.
The increase in the headcount will also result in the relocation into two new facilities in both Sydney and Melbourne in 2018.
"We now build and manage innovative channels to market for many of Australia’s largest companies, while at the same time supporting around half a million small-business customers throughout their online journey," Mercer said.
"Large or small, we help our clients connect more effectively and meaningfully with their customers. In short, we unleash the possibilities between business and people. We’re ready to take the next step. To become Australia’s leading digital partner."
Also, two non-executive directors, Gail Pemberton and John Armstrong, have announced their intention to resign as directors of the company, with effect from 29 May. Following the AGM, Andrew Macpherson will be appointed to the role of interim Chair until a new chair is appointed and Simon Martin will replace Armstrong as chair of the audit and risk management committee.