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Growth by stealth: Compass Communications

01 Jul 2006

In its eleven years of operation Compass Communications has steadily driven growth through the acquisition of ten other businesses including Wired Country and GDC’s IVASP division.

CEO Karim Husson says the reason for bulking up is pure economy of scale.

“These acquisitions have taken Compass into new markets and have led to diversity. In the current climate you don’t want to be dependant on a narrow revenue stream,” he says.

Husson says he immediately looks for synergy from an acquisition – making one plus one equal three.

He points to IVASP as a classic example and says Compass took a floundering business and immediately had it turn a profit, without losing any staff.

“IVASP gave us a new product set to offer existing customers. Compass has over 5,000 customers and when we bought it IVASP had 50.”

Husson believes the most important aspect of any acquisition is getting the people bit right.

“Some of the businesses we’ve acquired have been in pretty poor shape. If a business is in trouble the owner has to get it up for sale sooner rather than later.”

Retaining staff during that period is crucial, says Husson, but once they start leaving it’s difficult to prevent others from following suit.

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