Small Biz Writ Large: Conexio Buys ECS

In a David-swallows-Goliath merger on a mid-market scale, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Conexio, which has 10 employees, has acquired Dallas, Texas-based Enterprise Computer Solutions (ECS), which has 25 employees. Conexio is one of the top GoldMine partners and ECS one of the top resellers of FrontRange Solutions’ Heat, a service management product that includes help desk, knowledge management, asset management and service-level management.

The merger creates the largest value-added reseller (VAR) of FrontRange Solutions’ products in the United States in terms of product volume and sales.

Both companies declined to disclose their revenues or projected combined revenues. The deal was brokered by Celestial Partners LLC, which provides merger and acquisition, business valuation and other corporate finance activities for mid-market clients with sales of between US$5 million and $100 million.

Growth Oriented

Originally founded as SalesMax in 1999, the company changed its name to Conexio last July, marketing director Justin Beck told CRM Buyer in an interview. In the beginning, Conexio focused on the Cincinnati, Ohio area. It later grew to provide more regional coverage and was pushing toward a national presence before the merger. By acquiring ECS, the company gained a broader presence and access to national markets, Beck explained.

According to Beck, merger talks were under way for at least four months before the announcement. He also said the merger will be accomplished without moving people among offices. Key sales and technical employees will remain with the firm.

Without revealing any details, ECS director of marketing David Phelps told CRM Buyer that Conexio and Celestial Partners put together a highly aggressive offer.

Taking a New Road

According to Phelps, Conexio, which has climbed to the top of the small-to-medium CRM market heap in the United States, augments ECS’ existing national leadership in the help-desk space. “The two companies have very complementary businesses,” he said. “The broader CRM focus of Conexio is accented by the depth and breadth of ECS’ help desk offerings.”

ECS president Marty Kurzinski and vice president of sales Nathan George will stay on for a few weeks to transition off of projects, said Phelps.

He added that while at ECS, Kurzinski and George founded another company, NewRoad Software, that develops add-on modules for FrontRange Solutions’ products. When the merger is finalized, the two ex-ECS executives will dedicate their attention to that software development firm, which is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. NewRoad Software will automatically become a Conexio partner as a result of the merger.

Only One Casualty

Phelps noted that the merger was not completely without casualty; his own role as marketing director for ECS was redundant with Beck’s position at Conexio. “Both companies have been working together to assure a smooth, positive transition with no ill effect on our customers,” he said. “Unfortunately, mine is the role that’s redundant in the merger.”

Customers shouldn’t expect radical changes, Phelps noted. “We have no firm dates for transitions or combining the two companies,” he said. “Both have strong brands, and we want to ease customers into the change and make sure that they feel supported.”

The newly combined firm will have approximately 35 employees and will be headquartered at Conexio’s offices in Cincinnati, with additional offices in Dallas, Michigan, Atlanta and Colorado Springs.

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