April 13, 2021
ARG, the technology consulting provider and MSP, just made another acquisition to further its ongoing growth strategy.
ARG bought Virginia-based consultant Freedom Solutions Group, which has partnered with ARG over the years. The announcement came approximately a month after ARG publicized its acquisition of North Carolina-based NextWave Technology Advisors, another telecom consulting firm. Freedom Solutions Group (FSG) will operate as an ARG company. FSG owners Walt McGraw and Storm Karlsen will serve as principals for ARG and directly supervise ARG’s presence in Richmond, Virginia.
The companies have partnered together for the last 15 years. During that time, FSG used ARG’s contracts with suppliers.
As a result, the acquisition gives Washington, D.C.-based ARG a broader geographic footprint and FSG’s secure networking capabilities. In addition, FSG gets a deeper level of services.
“ARG’s playbook for achieving services excellence is proven,” McGraw and Karlsen said. “We are excited to align more closely with the entire ARG platform to bring even greater business value and technology service capabilities to our customers locally and scale our success nationally.”
FSG formed in 2001. It targets mid-Atlantic and Northeast customers, designing, implementing and managing their IT solutions. ARG executives praised McGraw and Karlsen for building a “strong IT services company” that focuses on network customization and customer experience.
ARG’s Mike Shonholz
“We’re serious about our clients’ success and growth through the alignment with the industry’s top-performing companies and high potential startups,” ARG chief revenue officer Mike Shonholz said. “Walt and Storm are phenomenal executives with a loyal customer base that will benefit tremendously from the expertise and services we bring collectively to the table.”
— ARG – IT Clarity (@my_ARG) April 13, 2021
ARG’s 29-year evolution reflects the IT-telecommunications convergence we’ve been discussing in the channel recently. Bill Power and Greg Praske founded the company in 1991 as a telecom agency. The company initially held a contract with Allnet as well as a subcontract with an AT&T contract holder. Praske noted in 2006 that the company maintained a “direct sales bias” while working with a handful of subagents.
Power later went on to found the Agent Alliance (now known as the Alliance Partners) consortium. In addition, ARG built a robust managed services practice, validated by its overall win in the 2019 MSP 501. The company adopted the slogan “IT Clarity” to describe its free IT consulting services.
ARG has grown significantly in size, due in part to acquisitions of NetGain Communications (2010), TeleStrategy (2017) and Carousel Industries’ Northeast consulting practice (2018). And the acquisitions will continue. Shonholz said ARG is following a three-pronged growth strategy: investing in startups and other acquisition targets, expanding with its existing customers and adding new clients across the U.S..
ARG’s Greg Praske
ARG purchased NextWave Technology Advisors last month. NextWave CEO Adam Carreno joined ARG as a principal. Greg Praske, ARG’s CEO, said his company is seeking “growth-minded” MSPs and agents who want to form a “mutually-beneficial alliance.”
“The first quarter of 2021 is exceeding our expectations, and we could not be more excited about our path to growth and the companies and individuals we have teamed with to reach our goals, build our bench and expand our capabilities regionally and nationally,” Praske said.
Agent consolidation has accelerated in recent years, involving national master agents, regional master agents and subagents.
“I don’t think a day goes by that a master agent or high-producing subagent doesn’t get a call from someone inquiring about the state of the union,” PlanetOne chief operating officer Chris Werpy said.
Furthermore, multiple subagents recently weighed in on how M&A involving national masters could impact them.
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