IT services firm Getronics started looking into overseas M&A opportunities "from day one" under its new investor Bottega InvestCo.
Having spent the last five years under Germany-headquartered private equity house AURELIUS, Getronics was offloaded at the beginning of July to US-Brazilian investment consortium Bottega InvestCo for €220m.
When the sale was announced, AURELIUS lauded Getronics' development in its five years with the investor, taking it from a €450m-turnover company with 2,900 staff to a €500m giant with a headcount of around 5,000 today.
Getronics' CEO Mark Cook told said that while AURELIUS successfully took costs out of Getronics' business model, the firm's new investor has the industry expertise to kick-start Getronics' next stage of growth.
"AURELIUS were very successful in Europe, [they are] more a restructuring and cost-reduction type of private equity owner. They did not really have IT and technology experience, that was really over to us," he said. "We needed an investor who knew how to leverage growth and sales and knew how to leverage IT."
Bottega InvestCo's largest shareholder is Nana Baffour, a US-Brazilian entrepreneur who will look to expand Getronics' proposition globally through investing in cloud, mobility and application solutions.
Cook added: "In the first 10 days we had all our leadership team, we took 70 of the top 5,000 people together and he was there, on a microphone, preaching about how he sees the future. That becomes very inspirational for our employees, because he understands the industry and he is a proven successful investor."
Under its new owner, Cook said Getronics will adopt an aggressive M&A strategy with the aim of adding new capabilities around high-margin product areas, expanding geographically into new markets, and attaining critical mass in existing markets.
Getronics made six add-on acquisitions during its five years under AURELIUS, culminating in its buyout of telco provider Colt's European managed cloud business last year.
The goal is to almost double Getronics' top line and create a $1bn-turnover company. The firm currently generates around €500m in sales, according to Cook.
"We introduced this shift of services and solutions delivered to the marketplace; 56 per cent of our revenue today is from services that did not even exist five years ago," said Cook.
"We invested organically in our own cloud platform in 2012, we put €10m into the platform that we built into our own datacentres. If we look ahead, we have good organic growth projects in business. We believe there is a huge opportunity to cross-sell and up-sell services. If you look at a traditional Getronics customer, we have additional capabilities we can offer them as well.
"But we are not kidding ourselves; to get where we need to be we need to make future acquisitions and that is starting from day one. It has to fit with the strategy we have in mind, to bring additional capabilities or new geographies, or gain more critical mass in existing geographies."
Getronics' acquisition drive could see a return to the North American market, after its former owner Dutch telecom giant KPN pulled the firm out of the US, Canada and Mexico through selling up to US reseller giant CompuCom.
Cook said AURELIUS had discouraged any forays into North America in the past.
"North America is definitely somewhere AURELIUS never wanted to venture. They felt that Germans operating in North America was not the best place for them, but our new owner is a US citizen and lives in New York. That is attractive to us depending where we look," he said.
"Also, our competitors have thousands or even tens of thousands of staff in some of those entities in the APAC regions. Whether it is Australia to support what we do in Kuala Lumpur, or Singapore, or more areas around China, or Korea."
Cook said that Getronics already has a number of potential targets lined up, but could not give any details as to when the firm will announce its next acquisition. The CEO did however say that Getronics is looking for targets with minimum revenues of between $30m and $40m, but said the firm is also looking at targets worth "hundreds of millions" in turnover.
Keeping an established name
Getronics was founded in 1887, originally starting life as a shipping and engineering company. Cook explained that there have been conversations about rebranding the firm in the past, but it instead decided to hold on to the Getronics name.
"We decided not to change the name. The marketplace is changing, we have start-ups becoming global businesses, and there was a worry that the name Getronics makes us seem slow, old fashioned and commoditised. But it is less about the name and more about what we do; a lot of customers like the fact that we have been around for 100 years because it means we are doing something right."
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