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MBS Players EYT And ePartners To Merge

EYT and ePartners to merge to create big MBS channel player.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but the merged entity, to retain the ePartners name, will have about 425 employees, revenue "north of $75 million and 25 offices in North America," said Dan Duffy, CEO of Dallas-based ePartners.

Duffy will continue in the CEO slot at the combined company. EYT Chairman Howard Diamond will be executive chairman and chairman of the board focusing on business development, mergers and acquisitions, and strategy, Diamond told CRN.

The two executives said the companies mesh well, both geographically and technologically. EYT has offices in Chantilly, Va.; Denver; Seattle; and Nashville, Tenn. EPartners, which bills itself as the largest MBS partner in North America, has feet on the street in Atlanta; Dallas; Austin, Texas; Houston; Los Angeles; New York; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Tampa, Fla.; and Washington. Headquarters of the new ePartners will be in Seattle, in close proximity to Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft.

EYT has built vertical expertise in public housing, community hospitals and professional services, Diamond has said. EPartners fields know-how in Great Plains, Solomon, Axapta and Microsoft CRM as well as business analytics.

Neither company is any stranger to mergers and acquisitions. In February, EYT merged with In2Gr8. And, ePartners itself is the product of nearly two dozen acquisitions up until 2000 but has been relatively quiet on the MandA front for the past few years.

The consolidation and convergence bug has bitten other MBS players as well. Tempe, Ariz.-based Tectura last month added Concord Business and then Cosmo Consult AG, a large German Microsoft certified partner to its roster. Equarius and the Interlink Group, two Microsoft partners, also merged last month.

Some say that MBS solution providers are simply aping the behavior of their biggest vendor partner. Microsoft has grown its business applications group largely by acquisition over the past five years, first by buying Great Plains Software and then Navision.

The key for Microsoft going forward is ensuring there are at least a handful of big and deep MBS partners that cover both a lot of geography and a lot of the MBS Axapta, Navision, Great Plains, CRM and Solomon product portfolio, said one MBS partner executive who requested anonymity. He maintains that the size and breadth of these elite partners will be crucial, but many within MBS say the company must work with a range of partners of all sizes to achieve the aggressive volume goals the company has set.

Partner MandA activity will no doubt be a subject of much conversation at Microsoft's Velocity Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto next week.

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