Trustmarque has moved to set the record straight after an email containing sensitive information about its sale process was forwarded to all staff.
The offending email, sent from the account of a senior employee on Wednesday, contained information on one of the bidders in talks with the York-based IT services and Microsoft licensing specialist.
However, the email account in question was compromised, Trustmarque has confirmed to CRN, adding that it remains in talks with multiple investors.
As exclusively revealed by CRN, Trustmarque's private-equity backers, Endless, began exploring strategic options for Trustmarque after completing its integration with another reseller in its portfolio, Trinity, last August.
It is now widely known that Trustmarque is in a sale process being run by investment bank William Blair. Angelo Di Ventura, group sales and marketing director at Trustmarque, confirmed that the Microsoft partner is in talks with both trade and private-equity suitors.
"It's unfortunate that a senior person's email address was compromised, which led to some commercially sensitive information about the process being circulated internally to staff, naming one of the bidders," Di Ventura (pictured) told CRN.
"Since the merger with Trinity, we have developed what we believe to be a very compelling and unique strategy, and have therefore attracted a lot of interest from potential bidders and investors."
Although Trustmarque's 2015 accounts have yet to be audited, analyst Megabuyte said in February that the VAR "seems now to be back on track" after seeing a sneak preview of the results, which showed revenue up nearly 10 per cent to £195m.
"We have not signed off audited accounts but it's imminent, and you will see significant top-line and bottom-line growth," Di Ventura said.
Megabuyte founder Ian Spence told CRN last night that the addition of services-focused Trinity has made Trustmarque an "interesting" proposition for potential buyers.
"It's been a remarkable turnaround in the last 18 months," he said. "You take the customer base of Trustmarque, which is very heavily public sector- and reseller-focused, and then you have the much more services-, cloud-oriented business at Trinity to sell into that customer base, and on paper it looks like a pretty compelling proposition."
However, Spence said the list of potential trade buyers would be fairly short.
"Private equity are pretty interested in infrastructure services at the moment, but they might have question marks over the pure reseller bit, so it could go either way," he added.
But Di Ventura claimed the Trinity merger has shaped Trustmarque into an "incredibly relevant organisation".
"If you think about the new world we are moving into with as-a-service, we think we have got a compelling and unique strategy in the blend of our business," he said. "That makes us ultimately very attractive to lots of organisations that have gaps in their strategy."
Following a recent five-year outsourcing win with an unnamed client that will see 60 staff TUPE across to Trustmarque, the York-based firm now has about 600 staff.
Di Ventura said over three quarters of Trustmarque's sales are drawn from the public sector and that it finished calendar 2015 as Microsoft's biggest public-sector cloud partner. Trustmarque recently took on former NHS bigwig Lee Francis to run its healthcare business, Di Ventura added.
"Lee has worked at very senior levels within significant healthcare organisations for 10 years," Di Ventura said.
"The channel needs to think about delivering outcomes for customers, as opposed to just reselling kit. You need to be able to build relevant industry propositions for customers, and what better way to understand what customers need than to have someone who's been working on the customer side for 10 years?"
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