Harry Zarek, left, and Paul Kerr

Published: March 18th, 2016

Mergers and acquisitions specific to the solution provider channel was the biggest story of 2015. CDN staff reported on countless deals throughout the year. The only thing that stopped acquisitions from occurring in 2015 was the Christmas break. The last significant deal was PCM buying Edmonton-based Acrodex. Then two days after that they went out and purchased noted PC retailer TigerDirect.

Usually the Top Newsmaker would be an individual. However, in 2015 the biggest news story of the year in the channel did not focus on one specific person but quite possibly hundreds of people. Since we could not profile everyone who made a deal in the channel the editorial team sifted through all the mergers and acquisitions and selected two executives to represent the story:

Harry Zarek of Compugen for pulling off the biggest acquisition of the year with the Metafore deal and Paul Kerr of Scalar Decisions for making two equally strategic moves in Mainland Information Systems and professional services firm Eosensa Inc.

CDN asked Zarek for his take on why the Canadian channel saw so many acquisitions in 2015. He said it comes down to a few issues that are converging in the marketplace.

Generational:  Some owners who got into the PC business at an early stage have reached the end of their respected careers and want to move on.

Scale: Those companies in need of scale have to look at acquisitions because it can provide their business with a broad array of services customers are asking for today.

Take for example Scalar’s strategic acquisition of Eosensa. With Eosensa in the fold Scalar is now able to offer customers end-to-end technology solutions, from risk and gap assessments to technology

recommendations, implementation, integration and ongoing managed services. All that in one deal. 

“This is a natural maturation of the industry,” Zarek said.

Here is a recap of the major deals that occurred in the Canadian channel in 2015

New Signature Canada acquired top Microsoft Canada solution provider Imason Inc.

In June New Signature, an American solution provider based in Washington, D.C. acquired CMS Consulting. That deal also included Infrastructure Guardian, a sister company of CMS. The deal resulted in New Signature establishing roots in Canada and making Brian Bourne the new president of New Signature Canada. Look for Bourne’s profile at No. 15.

As spring turned into summer Scalar Decisions Inc. and Calgary’s Mainland Information Systems Ltd., confirmed a merger agreement. This deal could possibly place the new company near the Top 5 of the CDN solution provider rankings.

Currently Scalar is No. 11 on the CDN Top 100 list up from 15 last year with revenues between $150 million to $175 million. Mainland has been growing rapidly in the last five years and has risen to No. 16 on the list with revenues between $100 million to $125 million.

Earlier this year Winnipeg-based solution provider Powerland took a major step to achieving its goal of expanding its service coverage across the Prairie Provinces with the acquisition of FACT Computers in Saskatchewan.

WBM Office Systems, a Top 100 solution provider announced the acquisition of Agilisys, an F5 solutions and infrastructure management services provider in western Canada.

IT Weapons Inc. announced its acquisition of fellow solution provider Collins IT. The two companies, both based in Brampton, Ont. And, then in the fall got acquired themselves by Konica Minolta.

Internet service provider TeraGo Networks Inc. purchased of Kelowna, B.C.-based cloud provider RackForce for $33 million.

Another merger happened with Insite Computer Group Inc. and Edmonton-based F12 Networks Inc.

CompuCom sold off its software licensing business to SoftwareOne.

Markham-based IT provider BDO Solutions merged with Systemgroup Inc.

And, it all got started in February when CDN Top 100 Solution Provider Quartet Service Inc. of Toronto acquired En Vogue Computers also of Toronto.

Click here to check out the full list of CDN’s Top 25 Newsmakers of 2015.