Rising Star Park Place Buys 20-Person Data Center Maintenance Power

Park Place Technologies has purchased a European enterprise storage support provider as it looks to ramp up mergers and acquisitions with new private equity backing.

The Mayfield Heights, Ohio-based company, No. 237 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500, said acquiring 20-person Com-Com will make it easier to provide around-the-clock engineering support to U.S.-based multinational firms doing business in Europe, according to Park Place CEO Ed Kenty.

The Com-Com deal is the first in what's expected to be a series of acquisitions intended to strengthen Park Place's geographic reach and capabilities in high-demand areas such as enterprise-level backline storage, Kenty said. Park Place had only done one acquisition in its history prior to being acquired by private firm equity GTCR, he said, but now hopes to do two or three acquisitions per year going forward.

[Related: Private Equity Goliath GTCR Buys Fast-Growth Phenom Park Place]

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"The bigger you get, the harder it is to sustain 25 percent growth per year," Kenty told CRN. "We had an acquisition strategy – we just didn't have the resources to go after it [before GTCR}."

The Com-Com acquisition will make it possible for Park Place to develop in-country capabilities and expand to support European companies locally rather than just following American companies such as Exxon Mobil abroad, Kenty said. Com-Com's engineers are mostly based in the United Kingdom, Kenty said, but the company also has a presence in Ireland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium.

"We're dealing with expats, and we want to build out some bandwidth," Kenty said.

Com-Com works largely with midmarket customers, Kenty said, and is strong in verticals such as financial services and manufacturing. Com-Com's client base is pretty diversified, Kenty said, meaning the company doesn't derive a large share of its overall revenue from a single customer.

Park Place first established a European footprint in April 2015 when it opened an office in the United Kingdom, Kenty said, but the company wanted someone local to give it an additional jolt of capabilities. Com-Com's familiarity with vendors such as HP and Hitachi means that Park Place won't have to be as dependent on U.S. engineering teams providing off-hours support to European clients.

Prior to establishing a footprint overseas, Kenty said Park Place largely relied on subcontractors to serve business units operating in Europe. Former Com-Com Director Ian Shearer will become Park Place's general manager of U.K. operations, the company said, and all of its employees except for one co-founder will join Park Place.

Park Place has a list of acquisition targets -- Com-Com appeared on the international list - and Kenty said GTCR has helped qualify the company's leads. The company has a domestic acquisition in the pipeline that it expects to close by the end of the year, Kenty said, as well as two acquisitions that it expects to close next year.

Park Place plans to extend some of its professional services capabilities around assessments, networking and storage to existing Com-Com clients, Kenty said. The company prefers to focus on contract-level work and add on professional services as a convenience to customers, he said.

Park Place was one of just 26 Triple Crown Winners in 2014, meaning the company appeared in the SP 500, Fast Growth 150 and Tech Elite 250, which recognizes partners with the highest level of certifications from major vendors. Park Place appeared again this year on the SP 500 – moving up 33 spots from No. 270 last year – as well as the Fast Growth 150.