Computacenter (CC) aggressively started 2007 with the acquisition of data-centre services specialist Digica, but is still on tenterhooks awaiting a final decision over the renewal of its lucrative BT services contract.
As revealed by CRN last week, the infrastructure and services VAR paid £15.9m for Digica and agreed to settle debts of £12.1m (CRN Online, 4 January). The firm claimed the acquisition, which will form part of the CC services division, will enhance its data-centre, remote services and applications management offerings.
Simon Walsh, managing director of CC Services, said in a statement: “This deal creates opportunities for our collective clients, specifically the chance to bring a broader services portfolio through Digica to their clients, and to strengthen our data-centre operations.”
Ian Cook, chief executive of European operations at rival VAR Logicalis, said CC was mirroring moves made by his firm last year.
“We acquired CSF to broaden our data-centre offering,” he said. “Companies such as ourselves clearly want to add to the breadth of services that we offer, and that is what Computacenter has done with Digica.”
Darragh Richardson, head of development at services rival Telindus, said: “It seems Computacenter is trying to do two things at once – going direct, but also going down the value-add services road. There is a danger that it could be caught in the middle because it is difficult to cover all of the bases.”
James Calvert, chief executive of analyst Regent Associates, said: “Like a lot of VARs, Computacenter has been struggling to get fully into services. But this acquisition places it fully in the outsourcing services market.”
However, the firm’s acquisition success has the shadow of the BT contract renewal hanging over it. Computacenter supplies PCs and services to BT and last renewed the contract in 2002, which at the time was worth about £350m over five years (CRN, 2 April 2002). Mike Norris, chief executive of CC admitted to CRN last year that the contract, which ends in March, was “extremely important” to the firm (CRN, 16 October).
A final decision may be made within weeks, although a BT representative said the telecoms giant had “not made any decision at present”.
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