It may not be the biggest business merger in Tampa Bay history or the sexiest. But the recent deal that combines two area technology firms — Vology of Oldsmar and Bayshore Technologies of Tampa — is a good-news story for this new year on several levels.
First and foremost, the deal melds two growing tech firms founded right here into one bigger business still based here — a rare event in itself — that promises to become larger than the sum of its parts. This is an opportunity for organic growth, not recruited from afar.
Second, the deal is already prompting a new search by the merged firm, to be known as Vology, for a new area headquarters big enough to accommodate its 200-plus employees and its anticipated growth in the coming years. The old Vology had maxed out its Oldsmar space in several buildings with 165 employees and cannot absorb Bayshore Technologies' 48-person team. Third, the new Vology starts off with an expected $170 million in annual revenues but expects to expand swiftly. While forecasting an additional 100 new jobs by 2015, the company also anticipates 50 percent sales growth within the next three or four years.
Vology CEO Barry Shevlin and Bayshore Technologies CEO Peter Anderson (who now becomes a Vology senior vice president and will run Bayshore as a service division of Vology) talked to the Tampa Bay Times this week to explain how this deal came about and what lies ahead. Here's my take on what the duo shared in that interview.
How did that deal come about?
John Hill of Tampa's Hyde Park Capital Advisors suggested Shevlin and Anderson get together. The more the two tech CEOs talked, the more they realized how much their businesses complemented each other. That led to a deal that began to be put together in September and officially closed in the last days of 2012. The CEOs brought the employees of both companies together in the ballroom at Ruth Eckerd Hall last Wednesday to explain the deal and lay out their vision for the new business. A bonus: There are no layoffs in this merger.
So what can the new Vology do that the two firms could not do on their own?
Alone, Vology provided business customers nationwide with new and certified pre-owned network switches and routers and telecommunications sales and services. Bayshore supplied mostly Florida business clients with IT infrastructure support, including servers and data storage. Vology wanted to add Bayshore's skills to its service menu, and Bayshore wanted Vology's national sales muscle. Presto. Instant synergy with 8,000 combined customers.
Now that Vology is a bigger and broader provider of IT services, who will it compete against?
In industry jargon, Vology is now a "hybrid super VAR" or value-added reseller on a national scale. There are maybe 12 to 15 such firms of national size. The biggest competitors are companies like CDW ($10 billion in sales, 7,000 employees). Vology says it is second in size in Florida to Mainline Information Systems in Tallahassee.
Vology aims to add as many as 100 jobs in the next two years. What kinds of jobs are we talking about?
All kinds. It will need more account executives, engineers, people in its operations center and in finance. But this is only week one. Shevlin and Anderson want to take their time and integrate the businesses the right way. Both are committed to this area.
Says Shevlin: "This will be a fantastic journey."
Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected]