MSP Acquisitions: How to Buy Or Sell A Small IT Service Provider
So, you want to buy an IT services business — perhaps for a regional land grab, a vertical market push, or simply to expand your customer base. What are the steps in the journey toward one or more MSP acquisitions?
The folks at Network Depot — an MSP serving the Washington, D.C., area — certainly know. Network Depot acquired Evolve Technologies in January 2012. Fast forward nearly four years, and key executives who were involved in the deal — Network Depot’s Rich Forsen and Chris Amori plus former Evolve CEO Dave Sobel (now at Logic Now) — say the business combination turned out well.
But what was the anatomy of the deal? The answers come directly from Forsen, Amori and Sobel. When I checked in with them for an update, the trio sent me deeply detailed thoughts about the deal — essentially organized into these five areas:
- The Process: Key steps for a successful MSP exit (seller) and acquisition (buyer)
- Early Negotiations and Valuation: How to structure a deal
- Due Diligence & Sale: The key steps involved
- The Challenges: Key hurdles to a potential deal, and how to overcome them
- Key Learnings: Tips for potential sellers and buyers
Now, let’s take a closer look at each step or stage, as described by Forsen, Amori and Sobel.