Top 15 channel acquisitions of 2008

Which channel companies bought who, what, when, why and how in 2008.

  • August: Three months after it entered the Web hosting space, MYOB buys SmartyHost. MYOB CEO, Tim Reed, said he aims to Web-enabled Australian small businesses. “We also plan to help business owners leverage the Internet to ‘rewire’ their customer and supplier interactions and other core business processes,” he said.

  • May: ASX-listed services provider, Melbourne IT, acquires VeriSign’s global Digital Brand Management Services business for $US50 million. The company integrates its existing Corporate Brand Services division into one digital brand services company to target organisations with large e-commerce interests.

  • February: UXC acquires the Australian arm of IT services company, Getronics, as part of efforts to lift its managed services game. The purchase is one of many made during the year to build out capabilities and skill-set. UXC caps off 2008 with an off-market takeover bid for managing consulting and professional services provider, Ingena Group.

  • July: itX forks out $6 million to acquire specialist printing and media distributor, Briell Marketing. Managing director, Laurie Sellers, tells ARN the deal will allow the listed distributor to go into new areas of business and a platform for growth. “I’ll be encouraging the sales team within Briell to start asking additional questions of their resellers about what the printers are being attached to, to see if there are any pull through opportunities,” he said.

  • October: WA-based ASG hands over $3 million for Brisbane applications integrator, A-DB Group. ASG managing director, Geoff Lewis, points to A-DB’s government and corporate customer base, along with its Oracle skill set, as major reasons for the acquisition.

  • October: A month after the voluntary administrators are called in, Lan 1 buys Sydney-based distributor, Blue Sky Industries. Lan 1 managing director, Daniel Lee, points to the distributor’s engineering capabilities and enterprise and government customer base as key selling points.

  • February: WA-based Empired nabs Commander’s enterprise business assets, including hardware and software licensing contracts, for the bargain bottom price of $30,000.

  • August: Australian security vendor, PC Tools, becomes the second significant local ISV to be swallowed up by the big boys in 2008 and is acquired by Symantec. The deal is part of Symantec’s efforts to grow its utilities and point security products portfolio for Windows-based PCs.

  • March: Data#3 joins the acquisitions game and buys Sydney recruitment firm, Fingerprint Consulting services. CEO, John Grant, said the four-year-old company would provide geographic reach and was a strong cultural fit. “In a tight market, you have to find another business that can give that significant step up, and that is why we’ve changed from organic to acquisitive growth,” he told ARN at the time.

  • March: ComputerCorp snatches up Queensland-based integrator, Coretech, just weeks after its merger with Leading Solutions collapses at the eleventh hour. Staff admit Coretech would have been part of the merged group if the Leading deal had gone ahead, raising speculation about who instigated the Coretech buy.

  • April: HP picks up one of Australia’s largest ISVs and the brains behind the Trim Context platform, Tower Software, to help boost its compliance and records management offerings.

  • October: With no end in sight, Clever Communications’ hostile takeover of rival wireless broadband provider, BigAir, is proving an uphill battle. After initially launching a bid for a one-on-one share exchange and getting snubbed, Clever has since lifted the price and extended the timeframe to try to win over BigAir shareholders.

  • October: In a bid to go upmarket, ASX-listed Manaccom Corporation buys enterprise software vendor, Star Systems, for $3.45 million. It comes hot on the heels of its acquisition of defunct Brisbane software distributor, Intellitron, in September.

  • June: Ok, so Dicker Data never actually acquired Cellnet, but the potential merger became the talk of the town as the two tried to reach a suitable agreement. Dicker managing director, David Dicker, confirmed it had been negotiating with Cellnet’s largest shareholder, CVC Ltd, but had been unable to seal the deal.

  • November: Distribution Central’s parent company, Frew Family Investments, buys ASK Learning, a training and development specialist, to sit alongside its distribution businesses. The announcement comes weeks before ASK’s parent company, ASK Recruitment, is liquidated.

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