Leading Solutions acquires Micro Knox

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Building on its software portfolio, Melbourne-based reseller Leading Solutions has acquired Australian software developer Micro Knox, picking up 25 staff in the process.

Under the acquisition, Micro Knox and its staff have moved across from their office in Mitcham, Victoria, to Leading Solutions' premises in Doncaster.

Frank Colli, managing director at Leading Solutions, said the acquisition had beefed up the reseller's software development business and it now had a mix of strong hardware infrastructure facilities, software development and services.

In fact, one-third of the once HP-only product organisation is made up of software and consultancy services, he said.

Colli said it made sense for the company to look at other market positions it could penetrate. This is Leading Solutions' second software-related acquisition in about 15 months.

In June last year, it bought the local operation of global ERP vendor Scala, a move that jump-started its foray into the software business. It also owns CRM software provider Ascential Solutions.

Colli said the company looked at the market pressures two years ago and “felt there was a real need to drive the software and services part of our business”.

“We've put a great deal of [resources] into the software side,” he said.

Since 1987, Micro Knox – a well known local developer – has marketed a range of vertical market applications around vehicle leasing and rental, book selling and software distribution and software for mechanical workshops.

Tal Evans, managing director at Micro Knox, claimed that the combination of Scala, Micro Knox and Ascential, makes Leading Solutions one of the strongest locally-owned software development firms.

Micro Knox would also tap into Leading's 8000-strong client base. Leading also picked up around 500 Micro Knox clients.

The Micro Knox “company brand” will soon disappear as the organisation is melded into Leading over the next few months; however, the Micro Knox “software” brand would remain.

Evans said he “wasn't really looking” to be acquired but he worked with Frank [Colli] for more than seven years on projects and a merger was a natural choice.

Colli added that while Micro Knox had a good technical capability, Leading had the sales organisation to promote more aggressively the Micro Knox software products in the market. “It's surprising – with very little drive in the market at this stage, we're getting quite a lot of positive response back [about the acquisition],” said Colli.

Despite its software drive, hardware sales, in revenue terms, still make up the majority of Leading's business, said Colli.

Recently, Leading also took on hardware vendor Acer, adding to HP and Toshiba.

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