Mergers and Acquisitions, MSP

MSP Acquisition: Buys Xcel Professional Services, a managed IT services provider in Alberta, Canada, has acquired longtime neighbor Xcel Professional Services for an undisclosed sum, the companies confirmed today. A key side note in the deal: It represents a successful exit for Colin Knox, an Xcel founder who is now focused on building Passportal, a password management platform for MSPs.

Alex Webb Alex Webb

“This acquisition fits with F12’s strategy of expanding by finding disciplined managed services companies who have found the secret of efficient IT support and high customer satisfaction," Alex Webb, CEO of F12.NET, said in a prepared statement. "XCEL’s team fits our culture; they are a humble, hardworking team who enjoy working with each other and value their customers. Simply put, we have long admired each other and the timing is right."

Colin Knox

From its launch in 2009 through early 2016, Xcel grew to roughly 22 employees, 2500 endpoints under management and over 2,000 customer users. Amid that growth and Knox's recent full-time focus on Passportral, he and peer Xcel owners (Ray Archer and Ryan Barker) decided to engage in serious M&A discussions in early 2016. A deal was hatched, due diligence proceeded without a hitch, and the agreement was finalized on April 30. Archer, Barker and Xcel team members transition to under terms of the deal. Knox maintains his full-time focus on Passportal.

Both and Xcel offer managed IT services and consulting on special projects. But there also are some unique talents at each company. F12, for instance, has mastered the HaaS (hardware as a service) business model, Knox says. F12 also offers strong customer service, but Xcel is particularly proud of its customer satisfaction ratings -- which stand at about 99.1 percent across 2,000 users, Knox asserts. Going forward, the companies will unify under the brand.

Next Moves & Xcel have strong businesses in Calgary & Edmonton

So what's ahead for We're reaching out to that company for that management team's view on the deal. Meanwhile, Knox continues to focus on growing Passportal's business. Among the highlights: The password management company now works with 1,000 MSP partners across 30 countries. And a distribution partnership with ConnectWise is starting to bear fruit, according to Passportal President Dan Wensley.

The big priority Passportal: Growing the business without sacrificing customer service. I suspect has the same priority as it integrates Xcel into its business. We'll share more details on that deal soon.

This is the second Alberta-area IT services acquisition in recent days. The other involved ESW and ITnorth merging.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.