Ensono Buys $59M MSP To Better Support Clients' Global Operations

Infrastructure management solution provider Ensono has purchased a 270-person cloud platform provider to bolster its capabilities around VMware, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

The Downers Grove, Ill.-based company said marrying its mainframe and infrastructure capabilities with Attenda's cloud and automation expertise will create a global leader in hybrid IT.

Attenda, based in Staines-upon-Thames, U.K., built a VMware-based public cloud platform all the way back in 2007 and was one of the first managed service providers in the United Kingdom to become AWS certified, according to Mark Fowle, Attenda's co-founder and CEO. Fowle told CRN that Attenda, which recorded sales of $59.3 million in its most recent fiscal year, has developed a proprietary hybrid IT service management platform that incorporates offerings from AWS, Azure and VMware.

[RELATED: Acxiom IT Picks New Name - Ensono - To Underscore Massive Cloud Investment]

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"Instead of seeing AWS as a threat, we saw it as a great opportunity and another platform for hyper-scaling opportunities," Fowle said.

Attenda plans to begin rolling out its cloud environment in the United States in the first quarter of 2017, Fowle said, and expects to have it live in all American data centers next year.

Ensono currently derives roughly 60 percent of its $200 million in annual sales from x86 distributed systems and the remaining 40 percent from mainframes, with very little coming from cloud services, according to Ensono CEO Jeff VonDeylen.

VonDeylen told CRN that the acquisition of Attenda accelerates Ensono's cloud roadmap - which was focused around automation and giving consumers the ability to consume cloud services in an agile and flexible way - by 12 to 18 months.

Ensono has been deriving roughly 95 percent of its revenue domestically, VonDeylen said, making it difficult to support multinational clients such as Abbott Laboratories outside of the United States. Thanks to Attenda's overseas capabilities, VonDeylen said, Ensono is now in a position to pitch prospective multinational clients with global support and improved financial strength due to greater scale.

Clients of both Ensono and Attenda rely on the companies primarily to support mission-critical applications and infrastructure such as billing and production systems, VonDeylen said. Most clients of both firms are fairly large enterprises with several hundred million to several billion dollars in annual sales, VonDeylen said, with Ensono clients typically interested in expanding into public or private cloud.

Attenda's key selling point for clients is being able to govern their critical applications around-the-clock, though Fowle said Ensono's unique ability to provide mainframe-type services could also be appealing to current and prospective customers.

Terms of the deal, which closed Monday, were not disclosed. VonDeylen will lead the combined company, while Fowle will join Ensono's board of directors, where he plans to focus on high-level client engagements, a strategy for growing the legacy Attenda footprint in the United States and a strategy for evaluating possible growth opportunities through acquisitions.

In the short-run, the acquired company will be known as 'Attenda, an Ensono company,' though VonDeylen expects to phase out the Attenda name completely by the beginning of 2017.

"In terms of our size, supporting two brands is difficult and expensive," VonDeylen said.

Cost synergies were not a motivating factor in the acquisition, said VonDeylen, who expects to see Ensono accelerate its growth given its new capabilities and larger workforce.

"This isn't about taking out costs," VonDeylen said. "This is about growing the business."

The acquisition comes 14 months after private equity firms Charlesbank Capital Partners and M/C Partners purchased what had been Acxiom IT and nine months later changed its name to Ensono to emphasize its capabilities beyond the mainframe.