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ConnectWise Acquires Continuum In ‘Revolutionary’ Deal For MSPs

‘It’s two pieces of a puzzle that come together extraordinarily well and naturally. Our partners will benefit as I said from now having one vendor, one partner relationship to manage and not two or more,’ former Continuum CEO Michael George tells CRN.

Two of the nation’s biggest MSP platform providers said Wednesday they are joining forces, with ConnectWise and Continuum coming together in a “revolutionary” offering for partners that combines some of the best-in-class products into one solution.

The news was announced by ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee and former Continuum CEO Michael George at ConnectWise’s annual conference, IT Nation, in Orlando. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

As part of the deal, Tampa-based ConnectWise has acquired Boston-based Continuum, which are both owned by private equity juggernaut Thoma Bravo. The new company will operate under the ConnectWise brand name. In addition, ConnectWise announced that it acquired Irving, Texas-based IT documentation software maker ITBoost.

“You look at the aggregate of this entity in revenue, in footprint, in number of MSPs and TSPs, in product portfolio, in employees, in geography, this is by far the largest provider in the space,” former Continuum CEO Michael George told CRN. “With size and scale comes economies of scale, breadth of capability. This is the largest, now dominant platform in the market. Our collective MSPs benefit from having that as their empowerment platform to go to market. If I were in the MSP space today. I couldn’t imagine a better platform to go to than this one.”

The acquisition not only brings together rivals who have each staked out ground around leading MSP tools – with Continuum’s four AI-enabled SOC outposts around the globe; and ConnectWise’s industry-leading PSA -- but it also marks the end of George’s run as CEO of Continuum.

Magee will lead the combined organization moving forward which will boast 2,000 employees, 16 offices, and more than 30,000 MSP customers around the world. Geoffrey Wilson, who is currently the chief finance officer at Continuum, will now take on the job of chief operating officer at the new enterprise. Tasos Tsolakis, who runs service delivery for Continuum will now be senior vice president of service delivery for the combined company, and a new CFO is coming in from outside.

“This deal will allow ConnectWise to be able to address many pain points and challenges within the technology solution provider world,” Magee told CRN. “Whether it’s the growing pains of talent and skill shortages, it will help accelerate ConnectWise and push ConnectWise further into the cyber security realm. … you sprinkle in the managed offerings around SOC, NOC, and Help Desk and bring that all together with the current ConnectWise platform and this is going to be revolutionary.”

Mark Essayian, president of KME Systems Inc., a Lake Forest, Calif. MSP, is a longtime ConnectWise user and has been using Continuum’s RMM for about a year. He said he sees the acquisition as a massive win for his business.

“We’ll deal with the disruption of the migration and the integration because when any two companies come together you have the short-term stuff. So I am not worried about that. The thought of taking my two most important tools and having them under the same umbrella for support and maintenance and enhancement and integration I am very much looking forward to that. I’m really happy with what Continuum has done on the security side. I’m really looking forward to how they’re going to align the toolsets.”

Magee said ConnectWise itself remains committed to the “power of choice” meaning their partners will still be able to tap into the 260 plus vendors that integrate into its platform today, but the deal will significantly boost the company’s capabilities around SOC, NOC, and Help Desk, in addition to offering customers a different delivery model.

“This will also allow ConnectWise to cater to the two mindsets out there. One mindset of the do it yourselves. Hey I want choice, I want to be able to do it myself. I’m going to make the investment of time talent and treasure to bring solutions and offerings to their customers. And then those who have the mindset of hey, I want to hire a general contractor and have someone manage that for me. It’s going to allow us to cater and appeal to both of those mindsets.”

Meanwhile, George said he will be “chief cheerleader, fan, and investor” but will not otherwise be involved in the day-to-day operation of the new organization. George -- who took the troubled Zenith Technology and over eight years transformed it into Continuum -- is widely considered to be a thought leader in the technology space, not only in the MSP field, but in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Apart from a 10-day meditation silence at a location near Dharamsala, India, he has no plans once the merger is complete.

“These are two great companies that have been together for a long while,” he said. “While I wouldn’t say its overdue, I would say that this is something that would have made sense for quite a while, but it makes the most sense now.”

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