​Melbourne IT rebrands as Arq Group in the name of digital transformation

The new name is aimed at reflecting the shift from a business that sold domains and hosting to one of providing services and solutions.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Melbourne IT has announced rebranding to Arq Group, with the company touting the name change as allowing it to be a "full service digital partner".

The name change sees the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed company shift from one selling domains and hosting to one that is a "services and solutions" provider.

"Our story is one of beginnings. We were there at the beginning of the internet in Australia. And we are there at the beginning of a customer's digital journey," the company wrote in its Brand Book [PDF].

"Our market is changing. Our customers' needs are changing. And so we must change with them. Acquisition has always played an important role in our growth and evolution -- but never has it been more significant than in the past four years.

"By forging them into a single, resonant brand, we will become more true to our vision, more capable of achieving our goals, and more able to offer our customers something truly unique."

Arq Group comprises Melbourne IT's acquired subsidiaries Outware Mobile, WME Group, Infoready, Netregistry, and Web Central.

Melbourne IT announced that it was planning on wholly acquiring internet marketing service provider WME Group for approximately AU$39 million last May.

The WME acquisition followed the announcement Melbourne IT made in February 2017 that it would be acquiring the remaining 24.9 percent of custom mobile apps development firm Outware Systems for a cost of AU$26.9 million.

The closing of the acquisition saw Melbourne IT's total consideration for Outware tip AU$57.8 million.

Data and analytics solutions provider Infoready was also scooped up in 2016 for a cost of AU$15.4 million, a deal the company partially funded through cash received from the AU$7.8 million sale of its International Domain Name Registration (IDNR) business.

The company also paid AU$15.5 million for cloud services provider and domain registration provider Uber Global Group in February 2015; competing firm Netregistry was purchased in 2014 for AU$50.4 million; and web hosting firm WebCentral was acquired in 2006 for AU$61.3 million.

"The Melbourne IT of today is almost unrecognisable from who we were four years ago. We've gone from a business that sold domains and hosting, to one of the leading providers of services and solutions to businesses embracing a digital operating model," CEO Martin Mercer said again on Thursday.

"We're ready to take the next step. To become Australia's leading digital partner. And to lead organisations through the maze of online challenges they face. We've created an environment where innovation thrives, a place where today's digital leaders and innovations shape the future, and a culture where excellence is considered standard practice."

According to the company, an arc represents a curve that connects businesses and their customers, and is a symbol of unity.

"As Arq Group -- a unified, multi-dimensional, and full-service digital partner -- we will go from strength to strength, and reach more people in more ways than ever before," the company wrote.

Alongside the rebranding, Arq Group announced two of its directors would be resigning, with Gail Pemberton and John Armstrong departing at the end of May, as they both have "extensive commitments" that require them to respectively "rebalance" their board portfolios.

For the 2017 financial year, Melbourne IT reported AU$14 million in after-tax profit, on revenue of AU$197.8 million.


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