Top German VAR Bechtle has snapped up another Microsoft partner in Switzerland in the form of Alpha Solutions.
The Neckarsulm-based giant is continuing its rapid acquisitive streak, which has seen it acquire 11 companies in three years.
The German giant's rivals have also been aggressively expanding their footprints at the same time.
So how does Bechtle's M&A strategy compare with the likes of Computacenter and fellow German services firm Cancom?
Strengthening ties with Microsoft and developing e-commerce
Over the last three years, Bechtle customers have seen the VAR's Microsoft Gold partner status bolstered by a series of Microsoft partner acquisitions, such as that of another Swiss firm, Acommit, last year.
This week's purchase of Alpha Solutions is no exception.
Bechtle says the €9.97m-turnover Swiss company "strengthens Bechtle's offering in north-east Switzerland and underlines the long-standing partnership with Microsoft".
However, "deepening its ties with Microsoft" isn't the only M&A driving force for the German VAR.
In July 2017, Bechtle bought out €420m-turnover French reseller Inmac Wstore, the largest acquisition in its history.
Bechtle's CEO Thomas Olemotz recently told investors that the firm's ongoing strategy is to derive more revenues from its e-commerce segment.
Olemotz called it Bechtle's "clear engine of growth".
In its recent Q1 financial report, Bechtle's e-commerce segment saw EBIT and revenues in that part of the business rise a stellar 71 per cent and 54 per cent, respectively.
He added that ongoing investment in the segment would be "key to Bechtle's current success".
Making the US a priority
All of Bechtle's acquisitions have remained within continental Europe.
Not so for its big British rival, Computacenter.
The Hatfield-based behemoth has been busy expanding its footprint across other parts of the world. During the same period, Computacenter has snapped up three firms.
Chief among them was its first US acquisition, in the form of FusionStorm.
Computacenter is set to spend between $90m and $135m on the $600m revenue reseller.
At the time, CEO Mike Norris emphasised that the investment across the Atlantic was "a giant leap" for the company. It came two years after Computacenter first opened an office in the States.
Norris has long said that he sees the US market as a significant growth region for Computacenter.
Like with Bechtle's largest acquisition. Computacenter's addition of FusionStorm has already been paying dividends to the firm's bottom line.
In its final-year results, published last month, FusionStorm contributed £3m of adjusted operating profit to Computacenter's international business.
On the continent, Computacenter also bought up the failing Misco Netherlands business and €13m-turnover Swiss VAR PathWorks, adding a reseller arm to its operations in Switzerland.
Creating a 'substantial UK hub'
Meanwhile, German IT services player Cancom has not been spreading its M&A resources across multiple markets in recent years.
It has instead chosen to focus its investment on creating what it calls "a substantial UK hub".
In 2017, Cancom acquired IT solutions provider OCSL and MSP Ocean Intelligent Communications.
Cancom called the purchases "a determined move towards a substantial UK market presence and the international growth of its business".
For Cancom, the dimension of Brexit has likely made the UK a cheaper market to expand into.
It has been suggested by some analysts, such as EY Consulting, that the UK has become a more attractive M&A target for overseas buyers.
Last month, in its 20th Capital Confidence Barometer (CCB20), EY found that for the first time in the 10-year history of its survey, the UK ranked as the most favoured M&A destination among more than 3,000 global C-suite respondents, moving ahead of the US.
No doubt, the UK pound has seen its value slump vs the euro. And while Brexit uncertainty continues to limp on, if and when Britain does leave the EU, Cancom will have developed its larger "hub" foothold in Europe's second-largest tech market at bargain prices.
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