Griffin purchased as route to cloud

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Comms Business talked to Mark Thompson, CEO of MDNX and Andrew Dickinson, MD Griffin, about the recent acquisition of Griffin and what implications the deal will have for both businesses.

With the figures still unconfirmed, Mark told us the companies have been in discussions for two years about a possible deal which have come off the back off a series of acquisitions MDNX closed in 2010. “The key to those previous acquisitions was that they were all data centric. They were networking or hosting/ cloud so they didn’t have any connectivity, voice or any of those things.”

“I looked at everything out there in the market regardless of whether it was for sale or not but I have been pursuing Griffin for over two years because it is an exact match to our business.”

“I am a great believer in the power of the opportunity in the channel and so I wanted to expand our channel business significantly and Griffin just ticked every box. “

The deal will see all of MDNX channel business being handled under the Griffin brand name led by Andrew Dickinson. The deal see’s MDNX’s £17 million worth of channel business combined with Griffins £20 million and will position MDNX as one of the biggest providers of data services in the UK.

Andrew Dickinson stated “We are becoming a much bigger organisation with a bigger organisation behind us in terms of the network and capability which we have been lacking previously.”

“It will bring more credibility to the company just because of size. We have gone from being a twenty one million pound company to an £85 million pound company. When you are bidding for these big contracts they want to look through the partner and see who the network provider is.”

So what does this for customers and employees? Andrew stated “The derby office is remaining and will be the centre of all the channel business. All of the existing MDNX customers and partners will be managed out of the Griffin offices.”

No major shake ups are planned in terms of staff but there will be some redundancies when some back office services are merged.

Comms Business is a great advocate of choice in the channel and when two companies merge into one this is always a concern for us. When asked how this would affect the choice of their existing customer base Mark stated.

“I think this enhances choice because between the two of us we are connected to almost every piece of infrastructure in the UK. That allows channel partners to have much more choice. In addition to that MDNX has its own data centres and that allows more choice of products and services to the Griffin customer base.”

“We offer some things that Griffin couldn’t previously such as our 24/7 service desks but that is a function of our size and scale. That’s impossible to do unless you are of a decent size because the economics don’t work.”

Andrew added “There is no negative here at all. People may be concerned that Griffin is now owned by someone that isn’t 100% channel but in the conversations we have had with our biggest partners so far they perceive much more value in a partnership than they can in direct competition. “

Clearwater Corporate Finance has advised Derby-based Griffin in this acquisition. Partner Nick Jones said: “It was evident that the synergies offered to the right trade buyer would be significant – the fit with MDNX is excellent which should see significant opportunities for the combined business.”

When asked how this acquisition will fit into the MDNX cloud proposition Mark said “We bought Griffin as a route to the cloud and the reality the cloud is never going to work in the mid sized business market until connectivity is right.”

Andrew added “We know that this market will take off when the connectivity is fast/ reliable/cheap enough people will start to move their desktops into the cloud. With the boom of Ethernet we are going to see that more and more.”

When asked about plans for the future Mark stated “To keep growing and selling!” Although no more acquisitions were mentioned Mark said “I have always been interested in further acquisitions as long as they were a good match for MDNX.”

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