MicroScope's top stories, September 2010

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MicroScope's top stories, September 2010

Alex Scroxton

A look back at the top 10 most read stories on MicroScope.co.uk for the month of September.

Better Capital acquires Calyx debts, calls in the administrators

The fate of network services reseller Calyx was the major story of the month. At the beginning of September private equity firm Better Capital acquired its bank debts from Anglo Irish Bank and placed the services-based networking reseller into administration.

This marked the second time that John Moulton, chairman at Better Capital had invested in Calyx; he backed a management buy-out led by then CEO Maurice Healy in 2007 as managing director at venture capitalist Alchemy Partners.

HP wins legal case against grey trading D&P Data Systems

Towards the end of the month HP resolved a legal battle with D&P Data Systems over the importation of branded kit from outside the European Economic Area without its consent.

Details of the settlement, comprising a High Court Order, remain confidential but HP revealed the Manchester-based second sourcing and excess inventory player had agreed to pay compensation and cease selling unauthorised technology in the region.

SCC acquires Kavanagh

On 7 September Bracknell-based integrator Kavanagh was sold to SCC for an undisclosed sum and managing director Rob Campbell stood down.

According to SCH chair Sir Peter Rigby "the deal evolve the breadth and depth of SCC's innovative IT consulting services and infrastructure solutions."

HP files lawsuit against Hurd, Oracle responds aggressively

Just a day after Mark Hurd agreed to become Oracle president and board director HP filed a lawsuit in California against its former CEO for breach of contract.

During his five year tenure at HP, Hurd was paid millions of dollars in cash and stock options to keep schtum about trade secrets and sensitive data including strategy, customer contacts and pricing and HP claimed its IP would be put at risk if he took the job.

The dispute was later resolved.

Avnet lifts covers off UK management team

Avnet finally unveiled its new UK management team in mid-September as the distributor rallied the troops to use the expanded portfolio and customer base to take market share from rivals.

In a staff memo, UK boss John Toal confirmed that Paul Cook will oversee key accounts, SMB and systems integrator; Laura Harman is in charge of networking, security, storage, wireless mobility and document management and Matt Tedstone will focus on enterprise computing.

Directors shuffled as 2e2 Morse integration ramps

The integration of Morse into 2e2 gained pace following the restructure of the business units, some real estate consolidation and the news that directors Mark Nutt and Tim Hall will leave in October.

The £69m purchase of London-based Morse earlier this year created a £400m powerhouse in the UK IT product and services sector but presented acquisitive 2e2 management with a more sizeable merger challenge than previous deals.

Calyx administrators proclaim business as usual

On the Monday following Calyx's administration, a statement put out on the firm's behalf claimed the business will continue to run "as normal" with no redundancies made while the administrators attempt to find a buyer.

Geoff Rowley of administrator FRP Advisory LLP said: "The group has a solid reputation and a good customer base, as such we're hopeful of finding a trade buyer."

VC vet Moulton warns of pending SME channel bloodbath

Venture capitalist veteran and new Calyx owner John Moulton told MicroScope he anticipated a flood of corporate casualties when the Bank of England finally starts to lift interest rates but he insists that the small business sector is most at risk. 

"When interest rates rise, the thudding noise could be quite severe, as larger firms are less leveraged than they were in the 1990s but smaller companies have nearly twice as much leveraged relative to sales as they had in that decade," he said.

Northamber sheds box-shifting skin with Solution Point launch

The realisation that margins made from classic IT wholesaling will not return to previous levels finally dawned on Northamber, which is taking major steps into a world beyond box-shifting.

The Surrey-based distributor, which celebrates its thirtieth anniversary later this year, revealed it had invested £200,000 in Solution Point, a 10,000 sq ft IBM centre above its warehouse in Webybridge as a precursor to becoming a mid-market VAD.

Better Capital acquires Calyx, prepares turnaround plan

The lengthy Calyx saga reached a head on 10 September when John Moulton's VC vehicle Better Capital was confirmed as the new owner, and revealed plans to kick start its turnaround strategy by divesting parts of the networking integrator with a view to making further acquisitions.

In a statement sent to customers, Calyx chief executive Tara Brady said he was "delighted that such a substantial player, with experience in our sector, has chosen to invest in the business. After a period of uncertainty this will allow us to compete strongly in this exciting market."

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