The deal for Clarke Office Solutions, which was founded more than 25 years ago in St Neots, was completed on 30 June. The value of the deal was not disclosed, but funding was mainly provided by Equistone Partners Europe, which significantly invested in Apogee in September 2016.
“There is no major change in the brand but it’s the location in Cambridge that gives us better coverage of the east side of the country,” said Apogee marketing director Gary Downey of the acquisition.
“Canon refer to us as their largest reseller in Europe so from that point of view it won’t be huge but the brands Clarke sell and service are brands we currently sell and service as well, so it’s a nice complementary fit. We can also bring our other servicing capabilities to those clients."
Clarke Office Solutions resells a variety of printing equipment, including a number of machines from Canon's imagePrograf range. It also supplies some other Canon products, including colour management software and document management software, and also kit from other manufacturers, including Epson and OKI.
“Clarke is a small, well-established, local business with a good service reputation and it is a nice and simple acquisition to integrate to the business,” added Downey.
Clarke managing director Robert Clarke thanked his customers for their loyalty over the past 25 years and said that his company will now have access to “a massive portfolio that leads the market”.
Clarke will stay on with the company but will no longer be managing director, as the business is fully integrated with Apogee.
Inorganic growth is a feature of Apogee’s growth strategy and in March it made its biggest acquisition to date, that of rival Danwood Group, which brought group turnover up beyond the £250m mark and has now been fully integrated.
Local news reports surfacing at the time claimed that Apogee would be making up to 120 redundancies at its newly acquired Danwood Lincoln site, as it already operated its own site in the area.
Downey confirmed that the Danwood Lincoln site was due for closure by the end of August but said most staff were being relocated within the group or had chosen to change jobs.
Following the Equistone investment, Apogee has acquired a number of rival businesses, including: Glasgow-based Direct Business Systems (DBS), Ireland-based Hibernian Business Equipment and CityDocs. Another two companies, North Wales-based Kon-X and Germany-based BAS Burosysteme, were acquired prior to Equistone's involement.
Apogee’s acquisitive focus is set to shift towards Northern Europe for the remainder of this year and it is likely to institute more acquisitions before the year is out.