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East Midlands Chamber News

Air IT to double headcount after acquisitions of Netstar UK and Microtrading

Air IT will double in size after announcing it has bought out two IT managed service providers (MSPs).

The Sandiacre-based company, a strategic partner of the Chamber, has acquired London-based Netstar UK Limited and Birmingham-based Microtrading Limited for undisclosed amounts.

It said the deals mark a key milestone for the group as it will significant strengthen its share in the managed IT marketplace and extend its reach into London and the West Midlands.

The firm, founded in Nottingham in 2005, received investment from private equity firm August Equity Partners LLP in January and the latest transactions mean it will have doubled its headcount to 140 people in nine months – making significant strides towards its goal of becoming the UK’s largest SME-focused cloud managed services provider.

John Whitty, CEO of Air IT, said: “Since the investment and commitment made by August Equity Partners to back our growth strategy, the team has been hunting for solid businesses that share our dedication and ability to serve the SME market.

“We are delighted to have found these, despite the recent pandemic, with Netstar and Microtrading – which are both extremely capable, successful and exciting businesses with very talented teams, which will result in the doubling of staff to 140 people.

“Like Air IT, they are both famous for delivering excellent service whilst also sharing our strong cultural values.

“The inclusion of their teams will provide additional depth and expertise to support the innovative and business enhancing services provided to our customers.

“These acquisitions represent the first step towards achieving both our organic and acquisitive goals which is supported by a strong and mature pipeline of similar deals.”

Air IT’s services include fully converged IT solutions, managed support, communications, cyber security, digital transformation, cloud, and business intelligence solutions.

In August, it was announced the firm climbed 40 places to position 142 in the global rankings of the 2020 Channel Futures MSP 501 list, an industry league table. It also placed ninth in the UK and number one in the East Midlands.

The company said the addition of the two new companies to the group bring the benefits of scale, additional technical expertise, and broader geographic reach.

Air IT, Netstar and Microtrading have all maintained organic growth over the past three years, consistently delivering greater than 20% year-on-year growth, serving more than 800 clients.

John said Netstar and Microtrading share similar values as Air IT and continue to be recognised by industry bodies and customers alike for delivering “excellent service”, especially during the recent pandemic, ensuring agile and responsive mission-critical capability was available at all times.

Mit Patel, founder and managing director of Netstar, said: “We are delighted to join the Air IT group.

“Netstar has consistently invested in our people, systems, processes and product portfolio and we will continue to provide excellent service and strategic technology advice to our customers.

“Our clients will now further benefit from a broader service portfolio, including cyber and business intelligence solutions.”

Andy Penlington and Neil Marlowe, the joint managing directors of Microtrading, added in a statement: “We have spent almost 40 years developing and growing our business into a successful and agile organisation, and the time is right to take the next step and allow our customers to benefit from our significant joint capability and technical investment.

“We are all very pleased that the Air IT values and culture are extremely close to those already present within Microtrading, which will make the integration of the businesses so much easier.”