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​EXCLUSIVE: Why Spark bought CCL…

​EXCLUSIVE: Why Spark bought CCL…

Spark Digital CEO Tim Miles explains the $50 million acquisition.

Tim Miles - CEO, Spark Digital

Tim Miles - CEO, Spark Digital

Spark New Zealand’s $50 million acquisition of Christchurch-based Computer Concepts Limited (CCL) will provide a key geographical boost as the telco aims to cement its position in the South Island market.

As reported by Computerworld New Zealand, Spark signed a conditional agreement to acquire the privately-owned IT infrastructure company to add to its cloud capabilities, while at the same time extending the telco’s market reach across the country.

Spark Digital CEO Tim Miles, when speaking to Computerworld New Zealand, says that the move ticks a geographical box for the company, as it looks to capitalise on CCL’s strong market presence south of Wellington.

“Yes, it was a very important factor,” Miles says. “There is a very vibrant community in the South Island and CCL has performed incredibly well and has a strong association to the market which is crucial.”

Miles says CCL’s performance during the Christchurch earthquakes in particular, showcased the credentials of the managed service provider, which completed the build of its largest data centre, in Christchurch, three months prior to the first disaster in September 2010.

During the earthquakes, and from a technological standpoint, the city was impacted by fibre and copper communication breaks, an overloaded mobile infrastructure and mobile network operators going into emergency calls only.

To add to the disruption, many businesses throughout Christchurch had no access to office space with limited access to key company data and information, as well as clear damage to infrastructure and hardware.

CCL's office in Christchurch, on February 22, 2011
CCL's office in Christchurch, on February 22, 2011

In utilising the company’s backup and disaster recovery services, CCL - led by Chief Technology Officer Jon Waite - worked closely with those impacted to evaluate risks to infrastructure and ongoing operations, drawing on experience from on-site professional services and hosted data centre services from six New Zealand locations.

“CCL did a great job for Christchurch and frankly the South Island during that time,” adds Miles, speaking to Computerworld New Zealand from Christchurch, following the announcement. “We poured resources into the area to keep the infrastructure going and we know what they did, and we’ve admired their approach for a number of years.”

From a business perspective, Miles says the deal will have no disruption for CCL customers, who now have access to the capabilities of the wider Spark portfolio.

“We want to make sure that CCL can not only bring their capabilities to the table, but actually that of the broader Spark family,” he adds.

“The private shareholders have done a great job so far but we obviously have a deeper set of pockets and we have a lot more resources so if we see a growth opportunity, we’re in a position to more rapidly fund this for customers in the South Island."

Complimentary

While the deal makes sense from a geographical standpoint for Spark, the company already has a strong footprint in the South Island, with around 1,000 members of staff across five locations - Blenheim, Canterbury, Dunedin, Nelson and Otago - and data centres in Christchurch and Dunedin.

Since opening its flagship data centre in Takanini, Spark Digital has pumped over $200 million into its cloud services, including the acquisition of cloud providers Revera and Appserv, the building of a Christchurch data centre to support the rebuild and an upgrade to the existing Dunedin data centre.

Miles says the acquisition will compliment the telco’s previous purchases, in particular data centre company Revera, which was bought for $96.5 million in April 2013.

“Both businesses have complimentary strengths and they make a good combination,” adds Miles, alluding to the area of platform IT services and cloud computing. “We’ve poured a lot of money into Revera and it is tracking along very well.

“For CCL, they are strong in the services area and employ a lot of specialists within the Service Desk space to support their clients.

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