By Kristy Dorsey

Kick ICT has acquired fellow Glasgow-based IT company Clyde Solutions in a deal that will allow it to create a new communications division as it pursues further growth opportunities.

The acquisition, which was completed for an undisclosed sum, is Kick’s fifth in the six years since the business was set up. It comes as Kick prepares to launch a joint venture that chief executive Tom O’Hara said should finalise within the next few weeks, which will create an “add-on” to the company’s technical offering.

Meanwhile, Kick is also in active discussions with its next potential takeover target.

“Clyde Solutions was a while in getting over the line, but we are pleased to have gotten the deal done and be moving on to the next few deals,” Mr O’Hara said.

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With turnover of £1.5 million in its latest financial year, Clyde Solutions employs 12 people, all of whom will be moving over to the newly-christened KickComms division. Founded in 2003 by George Paterson, Clyde provides a range of internet connectivity, business telecoms and VoIP solutions to a variety of clients across Scotland.

Mr Paterson, who will head up the new communications division, said the deal will benefit both companies’ clients.

“Kick has made significant progress in the last few years and has brought fresh focus to the IT sector as the leading single source provider of IT services to the SME market,” he said. “We are pleased to be joining…the team at Kick and are looking forward to helping clients with their business telecoms and connectivity requirements and contributing to the growth of Kick.”

During the year to September 2020, Kick increased its revenues by 10 per cent to £14.6m, with pre-tax profits up 12% at £1.7m. This followed an 86% surge in revenues the previous year, when profits more than doubled to £1.6m, breaking the seven-figure barrier for the first time.

That step-change was driven by the 2018 acquisition by Kick of the larger Castle Computer Services business based in Bellshill. With the latest addition of Clyde Solutions, Kick now employs 120 people, and expects that to reach at least 150 by the end of this year through a combination of organic growth and acquisitions.

The Herald: Alan Turnbull, group sales director, Kick ICTAlan Turnbull, group sales director, Kick ICT

Kick was established in 2015 by Mr O’Hara, group sales director Alan Turnbull and strategic initiatives director David Chazan. Each has a 30% stake in the business, with two further minority investors holding stakes of 5% each.

“Clyde Solutions is a highly respected specialist provider of business telecoms, connectivity and IT services and we are delighted that George and his team have agreed to join Kick,” Mr Turnbull said.

“As the world of unified communications converges with the digital workplace, they will bring outstanding expertise and skills to the team and will allow us to offer a market-leading range of communications solutions specifically tailored to the requirements of a rapidly-evolving SME market.”

Established as a vehicle to acquire and develop IT businesses, Kick’s first deal was to take over the operations of Talon Business Solutions. That was followed by the acquisitions of Microsoft Dynamics reseller Roxxap in 2016 and Glenrothes-based Vozero in 2017.

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KickComms will operate alongside the company’s three existing divisions: dynamics, infor and managed IT services. The group has its 20,000sq ft headquarters at Strathclyde Business Park in Bellshill.

Prior to setting up Kick, Mr O’Hara spent 10 years building up the Scottish arm of Technology Services Group (TSG) the software company established by Sage co-founder Graham Wylie, into a £10m turnover operation.

“Kick has made sound progress during the last year, the business is profitable, has good cash reserves, a high-quality client base and outstanding support from HSBC,” Mr O’Hara added.

“This excellent platform for growth has facilitated the acquisition of Clyde and the business is well-placed to continue growing and building market share both in Scotland and more widely across the UK.”