Solution 6 still buyout-hungry

A management shake-up and recent stock market drubbing has not deterred Solution 6 from its aggressive acquisition trail with three more companies added in the month of June, including two of its own channel partners.

In its quest to reinvent itself as a major player in the e-commerce enablement market, the accounting software and services company has revealed the motive behind its acquisition of two reseller partners, Sydney-based integrator and developer Fish Tech and Perth-based systems integrator AlphaWest, in addition to Lawpoint, an online government database search company.

Tim Molloy, Solution 6's global general manager for financial services, denied the company's purchase of its channel partners marked an attempt to sell direct to market.

"It allows a stronger end-to-end offering to our customers because we need people based in the local areas," Molloy explained. "We sell through a number of different channels, including accounting and legal firms, and I believe these acquisitions enhance our relationship with [these] other channel partners. It means we can offer a complete solution, not just a point solution that the customers have to bolt together."According to Molloy, all three acquisitions give Solution 6 complementary skills in strategic locations. Fish Tech was chosen for its data sharing technology, needed to integrate data in Solution 6's application service provider suite, Centrum.

AlphaWest gives Solution 6 a systems integration presence in Western and South Australia, mirroring the company's previous purchase of systems integrator CVSI, based in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Finally, Lawpoint was acquired because its legal search capabilities provided a natural complement to Solution 6's traditional accountancy business.

"The legal and accounting practice worlds are converging and we need product offerings that cover that convergence," Molloy said. "We are planning to push Lawpoint through our UK channel, because they don't really have anything similar in the UK or Europe. Fish Tech has already become a core part of Solution 6 and we are close to winning several major contracts in B2B e-commerce. AlphaWest will integrate with Solution 6 integration services."Molloy believes independent systems integrators will continue to play a key role in the market because of the rapid convergence in the world of B2B e-commerce and the pressing need for implementation of ideas and solutions.

Solution 6 is managing the rapid growth and absorption of the new companies into the existing corporate structure well so far, Molloy told ARN. He did not rule out the option of further acquisitions in the future.""There have been a lot of acquisitions over the last 12 months," Molloy conceded. "The integration is going well and has been largely driven by market demand. We still have a lot of growth to achieve in positioning ourselves as an e-commerce enabling company. The question is always do you build, acquire or partner? That's assessed on a case-by-case basis so yes, we will probably be doing that [acquiring] in the future."Molloy was quick to point out that, contrary to industry rumours, Solution 6's finances are in good shape.

"Solution 6 is a company with $100 million in the bank. We are cash-flow positive and have no long-term debt. We are well positioned."