Arkphire acquisition an American answer for an Irish question
It’s fair to say the announcement of the acquisition of Arkphire by US-based IT services and solutions provider Presidio Inc came as something of a surprise to quite a few.
Firstly because, although Presidio has made a broad range of acquisitions since it started in the early 2000s, it has never bought a business outside the US until now. The $2.8 billion company has 57 offices, 2,800 employees (including 1,600 technical engineers) and 7,300 customers, spread across the US, but it’s not a particularly well-known business on this side of the Atlantic.
Secondly, it is barely 11 months since IT procurement and services company Arkphire bought the Trilogy Technologies Group to create a €150 million company with 220 employees. At the time, Arkphire CEO Paschal Naylor (pictured) said the company was confident it could “maintain our growth trajectory for the business as a whole, both organically and through further acquisition activity as and when appropriate”.
Five months later, Arkphire bought Singapore-based Generic Technologies to support its expansion into the Asia Pacific market. At the time, Chris Ambler, head of Arkphire’s Asia Pacific business, said the Generic Technologies business would “allow us to better support the global requirements of our customers”.
So what has happened in the past seven months to make Arkphire go from an acquisitive business to an acquisition target? Talking to TechCentral.ie, Naylor says that while the company achieved its main ambition of building strong regional cover in Europe, the UK and Ireland (as well as expanding into Asia), “the big question for us was what to do about the US”.
Competing with large US rivals in Europe and Asia was one thing but taking them on in their own backyard in a very big and competitive market was another story. “Going into that market could be very long term,” Naylor says. “There was a risk/reward scenario to take into consideration. We would be a €160 million turnover company competing for customers with suppliers with a $2 billion turnover.”
Announcing the deal, Presidio CEO Bob Cagnazzi said the takeover gives it “a platform to scale our ambitions in Europe and Asia Pacific”. Naylor agrees that the acquisition will give Presidio’s customers a Presidio presence in Europe, reducing the complexity the US company faced servicing those customers.
It will also give Arkphire access to “a higher level of technology availability” with Presidio’s technical engineers. “It’s got to be good for Arkphire in terms of developing some of the offers we have,” he adds.
Naylor believes it will bring more options for Arkphire’s customers in terms of the Presidio methodologies and services the company can replicate and support in Ireland, the UK, Europe and Asia. He is also “very optimistic” about building on Arkphire’s success in healthcare in the UK following the £50 million, seven year contact it signed with the London Clinic in August this year.
Presidio returned to full private ownership in December 2019 after being bought by BC Partners in a deal worth $2.2 billion. BC Partners describes itself as “one of the first, truly pan-European buy-out firms”. It has operated across Europe for over 30 years and in North America for more than a decade.