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By | Paul Kunert 11th April 2012 10:13

Kelway gulps down Microsoft reseller, plots march on Europe

Irish BSS embiggens swollen belly of serial UK acquirer

Serial acquirer Kelway has swallowed Irish corporate and public sector reseller Business & Scientific Services (BSS) Ltd for an undisclosed sum, bagging Microsoft top-tier certification in the process.

Founded in 1985, BSS – which Kelway claims is Microsoft's largest large account reseller (LAR) in Ireland – has offices in Dublin and Belfast, operating across all 32 counties on the isle.

The plan is to continue the LAR accreditation status as the deal gives Kelway the rights to license mid-size and enterprise software agreements across the EU, the reseller said.

Dan Laws, MD at Kelway, said in a PR blurb: "We anticipate significant growth opportunities within our software licensing business as we look to integrate BSS into the broader Kelway group".

The LAR sector is cut-throat and many of the players have been aggressively building services businesses after the fees on bog-standard licensing deals were slashed to a third of previous levels by Microsoft.

The certification will, however, mean that Kelway gets better discounts and fees from Microsoft as it will now buy licences directly from the vendor.

Previously Kelway bought Microsoft through LARs Softcat and Software One, say sources close to the situation.

BSS represents the sixth notch on London-based Kelway's bedpost after the firm hoovered up ISC Networks, Repton, Panacea Services and Thatcham-based SAM Practice. In 2007, Kelway took Elcom out of administration.

London-based Kelway was handed a new war chest by VC backer Core Capital last summer to further fuel its buy-and-build strategy, which helped the firm reach the £255m sales milestone in fiscal 2011 ended 31 March.

The firm had forecasted sales of £320m for the most recent financial year ended last month.

In abbreviated accounts for the year to 31 December 2010, BSS turned over £14.8m in sales, down from £15.6m in the previous calendar year. It posted an operating loss of £341,000 compared to a loss of £125,000 a year earlier.

Kelway was unavailable to comment further. ®

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