Start-up acquires five Quebec area solution providers

If you’ve never heard of IDS Canada you’re not alone. But, the Markham, Ont.-based start up has acquired five small managed print services/solution providers in Quebec as part of a three-year plan to become a nationwide IT solution provider.

IDS stands for Intelligent Data Systems and the company currently has a single page Web site. The company is founded by former IKON Canada president Bill Hishon, who is the CEO of IDS Canada.

The five companies IDS bought are: IDS Ricoh of Montreal, DCI Services of Montreal, Le Vie Bureau of Quebec City, EBQM of Quebec City and VOB Technologies also of Quebec City.

IDS Ricoh, which is not affiliated with IDS Canada despite the name, has been a Ricoh dealer for the past 25 years. DCI is a break-fix multi-brand IT support organization. Le Vie Bureau is a Konica, Oki Data dealer that also supplies postage meters. EBQM is also a long standing Ricoh dealer as well as an HP solution provider strictly in the Quebec market. VOB provides knowledge-based services and programming mostly for the Provincial Government of Quebec.

“When you take a look at where the market is going with the copier and printer business converging into managed print services the equipment’s all digital and connected to a network. So you have to have depth of IT capabilities and by combining copier with networking and managed print we can get a foothold in the market,” Hishon said.

Citing several industry and market analyst reports, Hishon said that the hardware capital will be sources through services and by 2015 printers; copiers would end up being acquired through a service.

IDS Canada’s goal with this acquisitions and future buys is to form one of Canada’s leading coast-to-coast IT solution providers.

The plan started in the Quebec market first because Hishon said it was necessary to gain French language speaking IT consultants as these resources come at a premium.

IDS is currently looking at more acquisitions in Western Canada and then in Central Canada mainly Ontario.

Before these five acquisitions IDS Canada did not have any customers. One managed print services provider CDN spoke to said that they never run into IDS on competitive bids.

IDS were able to make these acquisitions through their equity partner The Presidio Group of San Francisco. Presidio has clients such as Toyota-Scion and the company’s specialty is in mid-size buyouts.

With these five acquisitions the company now sports a customer-base of about 4,000. Hishon added that in the next three-years he wants IDS Canada to be a $100 million solution provider.

“We have been working on this for more than a year and I did not want to open up as we wanted a strong platform in one region (Quebec). The mix was important and provides us with a good type of environment to make synergies work,” he said.

Another source from the vendor community who spoke to CDN on condition of anonymity said IDS Canada is well funded by its U.S. equity partner and “they are on a buying spree and are looking to become the next Compugen.”

Compugen was just named the No. 3 solution provider on CDN’s Top 100 Solution Provider Rankings.

Barry Rudolph, a managing director of Presidio, said in a prepared statement that the company’s been targeting the managed print services space with this management team for over a year, and felt they’ve put together a “fantastic” platform to bring significant value to the market.

Another Presidio managing partner described IDS Canada as a great example of its focus on partnering with entrepreneur-led businesses.

IDS Canada’s other partner in these acquisitions is TD Canada Trust. Hishon said that the TD bank provides IDS Canada with debt financing.

“One of the things we do with our model that’s key is we want to maintain current management. We build our management team through acquisitions and what we found is that this model allows entrepreneurs to take money off the table and still participate in our company. All of them are shareholders in the (IDS Canada) company. This is not a buy and thank you very much deal. They get a fair price for their equity and get a second pay day down the road,” Hishon said.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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