Alan Watkins is well on the way to achieving his super-VAR goals after acquiring IBM, SAP and VMware partner Computer Systems Integration (CSI) Ltd.
Watkins (pictured) and his private equity firm Blackhawk Capital bought the Leeds and Nottingham-based mid-market player, which has a strong client base in manufacturing, retail and telecoms, for an undisclosed sum.
He told CRN the top layer of directors – managing director Andy Forsyth, finance director Mike Henderson, and Rob Jackson sales and marketing director will leave the company, but technical and ops director Richard Starling, SAP division director Richard Midgley, and managed services director David Maskrey will remain and invest in the new firm.
Speaking to CRN, Watkins said: “We acquired public sector specialist SysMicro earlier this year and we plan to bolt the two together. SysMicro willl now be known as part of the CSI Group. We will be appointing a new Group managing director in the near future.
“CSI is a highly respected systems integrator and under the leadership of Andy Forsyth has growth from strength to strength after an MBO in 2003.”
He said the two firms combined will have a turnover of £35m.
As this article was published, Watkins was telling CSI staff of the development and plans for growth of the business. The firm will now go through a 90-day review process.
Watkins has made no secret of his desire to build a mid-market super-VAR. In 2010, not long after he stepped down as managing director of LAR Teksys to focus on his PE venture, he unveiled his acquisition plans to CRN.
“We are going to acquire more firms and we plan to build a fit-for-purpose provider. The market is in consolidation mode and there is the opportunity for several of these companies to be brought together," he said.
He hinted he was keen to talk to any bosses of similar-sized companies looking for an exit route.
“Our mission is now to evolve the CSI Group into a solutions provider that meets the challenges of tougher market conditions and addresses the needs of mid-market customers. We have a number of very specific objectives in mind, and will continue to grow the group through further acquisitions," he said.
Watkins added that firms are becoming more realistic about their price.
“We are no longer in the heady days of the 90s with the heavy valuations of the dot com boom. We are paying a respectable price for these companies, one that reflects the hard work that has been put in, but expectations are more realistic,” he said.
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