Toronto solution provider acquires German tech firm

Xchange Technology Group has been making more growth efforts in recent years with several acquisitions, including two this June.

In mid-June, Xchange finalized a deal to acquire German company Livingston Electronic Services GmbH, a short-term rental solution provider.

Then on June 27, the group announced that BlueRange Technology, its subsidiary, had acquired the majority of Mainline Information Systems Canada’s IBM portfolio, excluding its System z and mainframe related assets. BlueRange ranked no. 66 on CDN’s Top 100 Solution Providers list in 2010, up from no. 82 the previous year.

“We’ve been on a fairly aggressive growth plan for the past few years,” said Jeff McFarlane, president and chief executive officer of Xchange. It started on this path four years ago when it acquired Vernon Computer Source, according to McFarlane.

After acquiring U.K.-based Hamilton Rentals Ltd. in January, Livingston was the next biggest competition in the European marketplace. “Their single biggest competitor in U.K. was Livingston,” he said. Livingston was then a prime acquisition target.

Then, when Mainline decide to split its business, Xchange was one of the first calls it made, according to McFarlane. “The System x base is complementary to what we’re doing already,” he said. “Frankly, loyalty to IBM has been very important to us,” he added.

“(The acquisition) will introduce Mainline’s customer base to BlueRange,” he said, which will be a benefit to partners. “We’ll probably be able to offer a broader set of solutions to those customers,” he said. “It’s really our goal to offer total lifecycle management.”

“We’ve been looking for opportunities for acquisitions,” he said. Tech rental companies had been hit hard by the economic downturn, he said, which the timing right for the Hamilton and Livingston acquisitions. “It’s going to give us a global footprint in computer rental space,” he said.

“The rental marketplace in Canada is very fractured, very regional in nature,” he said. Now, Xchange can bring a certain level of technical and enterprise expertise to the Canadian market, he said.

“We’re going to be actively recruiting for additional mid-range and enterprise expertise,” by hiring sales consultants and IT experts, McFarlane said. “We’re looking to plug in sales talent into the organization,” he said. “We’ll frankly also look for acquisition targets,” within Canada, he added. Xchange now has 21 facilities in nine countries.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Harmeet Singh
Harmeet Singh
Harmeet reports on channel partner programs, new technologies and products and other issues relevant to Canada's channel community. She also contributes as a video journalist, providing content for the site's original streaming video. Harmeet is a graduate of the Carleton University School of Journalism.

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