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Thrive Acquires SouthTech; MSP Expands Florida Reach


Thrive, backed by private equity firm Court Square Capital Partners, has acquired SouthTech, a managed IT services provider (MSP) in Sarasota, Florida. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

This is technology M&A deal number 245 that ChannelE2E has covered so far in 2022. See more than 1,000 technology M&A deals involving MSPs, MSSPs & IT service providers listed here.

Thrive: Recent MSP Acquisitions, Security Focus

SouthTech -- the seller in this case -- has 55 employees listed on LinkedIn. The seller supports more than 275 companies in southwest Florida. Key offerings include managed services; cloud and hosting solutions; backup and disaster recovery services; unified communications; compliance auditing; and data security, the seller said.

This is Thrive's second acquisition in Florida this year. The other deal involved Thrive buying Preemo.

Thrive now has 625 employees. The MSP has acquired more than a dozen MSPs, IT service providers and consulting firms since 2016. Other somewhat recent deals include buying InCare TechnologiesHoward Tech AdvisorsApex IT Group, and ONI, among others.

Thrive now positions itself as a "security-first MSP" that delivers "comprehensive managed services and unmatched expertise to drive secure digital transformation for small to mid-sized enterprises across multiple industries," Thrive asserts.

Thrive Acquires SouthTech: MSP Executive Perspectives

Thrive CEO Rob Stephenson
Thrive CEO Rob Stephenson

In a prepared statement about the deal, Thrive CEO Rob Stephenson said:

"SouthTech's team provides unique services for complex client technology issues which aligns very closely with our customer-centric approach. The Florida market is red-hot, and we wanted to find the best MSP partner on the West Coast to promote the Thrive cybersecurity, Cloud & digital transformation platform into the region. SouthTech's talented group of employees deliver that."

Added Nathan Bailey, CEO/COO of SouthTech:

"For over 25 years, SouthTech's mission is to be a trusted long-term partner to companies by delivering custom technology solutions and being a people-first managed service provider. We're excited to join the Thrive family as their overarching goal aligns with our values and IT service offerings as a technological guide for customer's path to success."

Thrive’s Business Evolution and Private Equity Ownership

Private equity firm Court Square Capital Partners acquired Thrive in January 2021. Among the key areas of focus: Expanding the MSP into fast-growth areas such as ServiceNow, automation, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, Thrive said at the time.

Thrive’s business journey proves that MSPs, under the right ownership and executive leadership, can scale from local IT support into national prominence. For Thrive, the business journey involved some mixed-performance years under Staples’ former ownership. The turning acceleration point arrived around 2015, when Rob Stephenson began consulting for Thrive Networks under MetTel’s direction.

A Big Bang moment arrived in 2016, when M/C Partners acquired Thrive Networks and Corporate IT Solutions, and Stephenson was tapped to run the merged the businesses. Thrive then acquired multiple MSPs, before Court Square acquired the company in January 2021 to fuel the next round of national growth.

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.