Alcatel VAR Freedom is considering its finance options to enable it to acquire a data firm and improve its convergence offering.
The reseller hopes to identify a data reseller to acquire by the end of the year to add to its previous acquisition of VAR The Telephone Company (CRN, 14 November).
Tom Perry, head of marketing at Freedom, said: “This calendar year we want to identify an acquisition target and make an approach. Our target will be a data company. We are currently looking at finance options for this acquisition.”
Perry added that Freedom is assessing whether to borrow funds from its current financier, Barclays Bank, float on the stock exchange, or seek private equity backing.
“I don’t think we will always be just an Alcatel reseller. We could look to acquire another vendor’s partner,” he told CRN.
Freedom has recently rebranded, changing it name from Freedom Communications to simply Freedom.
“We have dropped the Communications [part of our name], due to our focus on convergence. We have sold four convergence projects in the last quarter,” Perry added.
Neal Tilley, convergence solutions manager at Alcatel, welcomed Freedom’s acquisition plans. “It is very positive news for a business partner we have a good relationship with,” he said. “If you look at our data VARs through to our traditional voice partners, all are making steps to adapt and provide convergence services.”
Tilley added that if resellers wish to expand in the convergence market they can either invest in training or follow Freedom’s lead and grow through acquisition.
“If Freedom buys outside the Alcatel channel it is good for us. It spreads the knowledge of the Alcatel product, and means a new partner will be introduced to Alcatel,” Tilley said.
David Hennell, commercial manager at Alcatel distributor Northamber, said: “If you have a good, long-standing relationship with a telecoms provider, maki ng acquisitions would be the fastest way to get into convergence.”
Freedom’s end-of-year turnover grew by 72 per cent for the year ended March 2006, rising from £9.97m the previous year to £17.1m. Gross profit also increased by 74 per cent for the same period.
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