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BigAir to acquire Applaud IT for AU$1.2m in cash

Wireless broadband provider BigAir has agreed to purchase managed services and cloud solutions provider Applaud IT in a deal to bolster its managed technology solutions.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

Wireless broadband specialists BigAir Group entered into a AU$1.2 million all-cash deal to purchase 100 percent of managed services provider Applaud IT.

Australian Securities Exchange (ASX)-listed BigAir said it expected Applaud IT to generate revenue of AU$6-7 million and an earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) of at least AU$700,000.

"The acquisition of Applaud is consistent with our vision to be the number one managed technology solutions provider servicing mid-market customers," BigAir CEO Jason Ashton said in a statement.

BigAir said that the over 10 years of service desk experience Applaud IT has, as well as its significant managed services and cloud services capability, will enhance the company's existing capabilities, which is currently managed by the BigAir unified communications division.

It is expected that the deal will be completed by the end of this month with the acquisition to be earnings positive from FY2016.

The BigAir service was launched in March 2004, with the company officially listing on the ASX in April 2006.

In October 2008 it was announced that Australian telco, Clever Communications had made a bid to purchase BigAir for an undisclosed total amount, the deal did not go ahead, but two years later, BigAir had secured 50.54 percent of shares in Clever Communications in an off-market deal.

Other notable purchases of the wireless broadband provider include student and accommodation internet service provider AccessPlus which was sold to BigAir in 2011 for AU$5 million.

In early 2012, BigAir purchased Queensland-based fixed-wireless network provider Allegro Networks in a AU$7.5 million deal, and Link Innovations was also acquired for approximately AU$2 million. By August 2013, Intelligent IP Communications was purchased for an initial amount of AU$10 million with a further $10 million to be paid on the company's performance in FY2014 and FY2015. Later that year, BigAir also added Anittel's hosting and network infrastructure business for AU$6.5 million.

In 2014, BigAir purchased telco engineering firm Unistar Enterprises for a cost of AU$2.1 million, and IT services provider Oriel Technologies was secured later that year for AU$4.21 million in cash -- with additional payments based on the company's FY2015 and FY2016 performances -- capped at AU$15 million.

BigAir reported record revenue of AU$26.2 million in its half-year earnings for the period ending December 2014, a figure up by 55 percent year-on-year. The company's underlying EBITDA was also up 28 percent to AU$8.5 million.

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