Managed print services provider Intelligent Data Systems (Canada) Inc. (IDS) took a step in its broader expansion strategy this week with the acquisition of Quebec City-based Maison LaCouline Inc.’s printer and copier business.
This acquisition was part of IDS’ “tuck in” strategy, or acquiring businesses with a large related customer base of more than 500 clients. Maison LaCouline had a similar product line, with almost 100 per cent Ricoh products and a similar client base, which IDS has now taken over, according to Bill Hishon, the company’s CEO.
The company’s overall portfolio now includes copiers, printers, and other technology products as well as equipment maintenance services, managed print services and related consulting.
In May, IDS was created (with the help of private equity investors) by acquiring five other printing services organizations- DCI Toner, EBQM, IDS Ricoh, La Vie au Bureau and VOB Consulting Services- to form the largest managed print services company in Eastern Canada, with about 4000 customers. Headquartered in Toronto, with offices in Montreal and Quebec City, the company has a strong presence in Quebec but it is looking to grow rapidly over the next year.
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IDS now functions as a sort of umbrella organization for independent managed print service providers, where the acquired companies’ branding, management and other staff remain largely the same as before they were bought out. Maison LaCouline’s resources, however, will now fit under the EBQM business, its Quebec City printer and copier division. “We already have a very strong brand in that area,” Hishon said.
IDS’ expansion strategy for Ontario will continue later this year. The company is currently working on finalizing acquisitions in the Greater Toronto Area, where entering the playing field is admittedly more challenging. “I think the independents do not have the same level of market share,” he said.
“The market that we’re focusing in on is the SMB (small and medium business) market,” he said. “We believe that a strong independent that has the right resources can do well in the SMB market.” Keeping service at the local level is crucial for success in this market, whereas large corporations typically require the processes from large service providers, he said. “We believe that there’s a void in addressing the midmarket in Canada.”
IDS plans to expand to central and Western Canada within the next 18 months and eventually into the U.S.