July 19, 2022
Private equity firm Vitruvian Partners is acquiring a majority interest in Meriplex, a provider of managed cybersecurity, IT and SD-WAN solutions focused on the U.S. SMB and midmarket. Meriplex ranked No. 92 on the 2022 Channel Futures MSP 501.
Meriplex’s existing shareholder, Clairvest Group, is retaining partial equity in the company and will remain a minority shareholder. The Meriplex management team, led by founder and CEO David Henley, is also a shareholder. Henley will continue to run the business.
Meriplex’s David Henley
“Vitruvian Partners will help further accelerate our rapid growth, enabling us to continue to expand our nationwide footprint and capabilities to better serve our customers. We are very excited about this new partnership with them and to continue collaborating and partnering with Clairvest,” Henley said. “I am very proud of what we have achieved over the last few years and am excited to continue growing Meriplex and our customer relationships alongside Vitruvian as our new private equity partner.”
Since 2018, Meriplex has completed 13 acquisitions, expanding its reach to become a nationwide managed services company. Meriplex is growing two-and-a-half to three times faster than its equity-backed competitors, the company said.
David Nahama is senior partner at Vitruvian Partners.
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“We have been very impressed with the track record of growth at Meriplex and have seen the company consistently outperform, including executing multiple strategic acquisitions. We approached David late last year and are delighted to be partnering with him, the broader Meriplex team and Clairvest on the next significant chapter of expansion and success for Meriplex.”
Meriplex’s Neil Medwed
Neil Medwed is executive director of strategic partnerships and M&A for Meriplex. Medwed said Meriplex’s success can be attributed to several factors, one of which is a four-pronged approach to M&A deals.
4 Keys to M&A
“I like to say that in order for an M&A deal to work out, No. 1, it has to be great for the customers. If it’s not great for the customers, run the other way,” Medwed said. “No. 2, it has to be great for the employees. If it’s not great for the employees, even if it’s great for the customer, run the other way.”
No. 3, Medwed noted, deals should be financially good for the ownership group. He put it another way: Companies should not be “bottom feeders.” They shouldn’t go after the lowest dominator when acquiring because it might seem, initially, financially advantageous. Rather, there are positive long-term implications for seeking the “best” companies, he said.
No. 4 means placing the CEO of an acquired company in the “right lane for success.” Put the former CEO in a position in which his or her best skills can be utilized, Medwed said. Medwed himself was CEO of Dallas-based Preferred Technology Solutions, a firm Meriplex acquired.
Tech Worker Shortage
With this formula in mind, Meriplex officials hope to acquire 10 MSPs annually in coming years. This raises one point. With such rapid expansion, how does Meriplex plan to staff its growing number of offices? Medwed acknowledged that the technology industry is facing difficulties filling vacant positions. However, Meriplex officials say, as the company expands, there’s appeal for potential employees to select their company. Prospective workers can choose to work among Meriplex’s various locations across the United States. In addition, Medwed said tech workers like challenges. With Meriplex’s managed cybersecurity, IT and SD-WAN solution markets, workers can grow within various fields, he added.
“If you’re a technical resource that wants a great job with great upside and bigger projects and upward mobility and all those different things, Meriplex has something to offer.”
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