Microsoft partners merge for midmarket critical mass

Two Microsoft channel partnershave said they will merge to form a new company that will be among Microsoft's largest global partners serving midmarket business applications customers.

Arizona-based, Tectura, is joining with Copenhagen firm, Ashton Business Solutions, in a deal backed by private investment firm Pequot Capital Management. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The new company will continue doing business as Tectura but will shift its headquarters to California.

Ashton Business Solutions' Copenhagen office will become Tectura's European headquarters.

Tectura chief executiveofficer (CEO), Terry Petrzelka, will remain the company's CEO, while Ashton Business Solutions' CEO intends to depart after a transition period.

The new Tectura will have 1000 employees worldwide in 50 cities in Europe, the US, Australia and Canada. The company forecasts revenue of $US150 million over the next year.

Tectura specialises in working with products from the Microsoft Business Solutions business applications group.

The newly expanded company said it would be Microsoft's largest partner within the Axapta and Navision enterprise resource planning (ERP) software lines, and a top partner around the Great Plains, Solomon and Microsoft customer relationship management (CRM) lines.

As Microsoft looks to its Business Solutions group to propel it into the ERP market, partnerships are a critical aspect of its growth plans.

Business applications software requires more customisation and services support than the products that are Microsoft's flagships, its operating system and desktop applications software.

Tectura has built around Microsoft's software tailored systems for a number of industries, including consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, aerospace, life sciences and healthcare. Anticipating rapid growth in the market for Microsoft's back-office software, Tectura said it aimed to be a $US500 million services business with a staff of 2500 by 2007.