Fronde buys Aussie IT company OnlineOne

Wellington-based cloud services provider Fronde has acquired Australian IT company OnlineOne for an undisclosed sum ("commercial confidentialities").

According to Fronde's 2012 annual report the company earned $47.6 million in revenue last year, with a profit of $2 million. This came two years after a dismal 2010, where Fronde lost $1.8 million on the back of $24.8 million in revenue. 

Fronde's strategy to work its way into the black was to invest in more technology and Google's enterprise suite, and explore new markets. Chief executive Ian Clarke says the acquisition gives Fronde critical mass at its Sydney office and opens up the Australian market further for the company. The deal also sees Fronde's team grow to 320 staff across New Zealand and Australia.

Importantly for the cloud company, it adds another tool to its belt. OnlineOne has a pedigree with NetSuite enterprise products which will now be offerred under Fronde's umbrella, Clarke says the company will also bring that knowledge to New Zealand.

Clarke says he was introduced to OnlineOne when it carried out Fronde's NetSuite implementation two years ago. The acquisition went smoothly because both parties recognised common strengths, he adds.

"One of the reasons we've gotten together is we think there's a good culture fit ... It's not something we'll leave to chance, we'll have long time Fronde people involved deeply in the Sydney operations," says Clarke.

OnlineOne co-founders Don McLean and Craig Traub have signed long-term commitments to Fronde, and will report directly to Clarke.

Clarke says buying an Australian company instead of organically building Fronde's presence in the country allows it to leapfrog hurdles which often plague new technology entrants to markets. The model is one he hopes to replicate when Fronde further expands overseas, but Clarke was unwilling to say when or where that might be.

"Right now we're just concentrating on making our Australian presence great," he says.

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