Kiwi IT’s Acquisition Story: Steve Priest Joined Forces with Croft in a Seamless IT Acquisition
Before Croft acquired Kiwi IT in February 2023, Steve Priest wasn’t looking to sell. After a conversation with his Business Partner, Rob Green, whose business (Cloud9) had also been recently acquired by Croft – he decided to meet with Mark and Phil to discuss the possibility of an acquisition. We sat down with Steve to discuss the acquisition process and becoming part of Croft.
What were the benefits of choosing Croft as the acquiring company?
When I first spoke to Mark (CEO) and Phil (CFO / COO) from Croft, I was impressed by their approach. I’ve had a number of other companies over the years contact me about selling, but I found Croft particularly easy to deal with – so I was happy to start a conversation. I had a preference for Croft because I liked what they had to say. One of the key factors for me was that the Kiwi team in the Midlands had a very low staff turnover, and most of the team had been with me since the beginning. I didn’t want redundancies, and Croft has been true to their word in preserving the whole team.
How was the acquisition process?
The process was extremely easy and straightforward. From the initial conversation to the completion of the deal, it took only three months – and I know that some of Croft’s acquisitions have been even quicker than that. We went through the due diligence process, and we were able to reach an amicable and sensible decision. There was a degree of leniency and acceptance in how we worked out the transition plan which worked really well for us.
What was the reaction from your team?
Naturally, there were some concerns among the team as they had been working in a small business environment for years. They were worried about what would change, and how this change would look. But Phil and Mark from Croft came and spoke to the whole team to provide support and reassurance. The team were also supported by Tania – Croft’s People and Integration Manager who helped them adjust to the change in the business. Fortunately, there were no redundancies, and the team responded positively to the merger.
Did the acquisition bring about any changes in career opportunities for employees at Kiwi IT?
Absolutely! The acquisition opened up new career opportunities for the Kiwi IT team. We went from a team of 28 to now being a part of a larger organisation with 200 employees. There’s a much larger ladder to climb in terms of career growth for employees, so we’ve seen a number of promotions within the business since the acquisition.
What advice would you give to other businesses considering an acquisition?
It’s an extremely easy process. From the first conversation with Mark and Phil to completion, the process took less than three months. We managed to achieve a solid agreement – and it’s clear that Croft did their due diligence. I also liked how there was a degree of flexibility in the acquisition / transition plan, to help integrate how we worked at Kiwi IT. Through conversations, all of my concerns were relieved. Croft was understanding and addressed the concerns I had, especially regarding staff retention, so I’d say that the process was smooth and efficient.
Any final comments?
As the former Managing Director of a small business, I’ve now found myself on the board of a larger organisation, thanks to the acquisition. (It has been a promotion for me!) Kiwi IT was never on the market, but I’m really pleased with my decision to sell. It’s been encouraging to witness the high level of engagement, support, and involvement of Phil, Ben, and Mark from Croft in most decision-making processes. Despite the inevitable unsettling period that happens during significant business transitions, the Croft team has consistently demonstrated active engagement and encouragement throughout. Ultimately, the acquisition was a painless, efficient process and I’d recommend Croft to other businesses interested in selling.