Big buy: Telus acquires Ottawa-based IT firm Fully Managed for $137M

Mark Scott
Mark Scott, CEO of Fully Managed. File photo.

An Ottawa-based IT enterprise that expanded across the country by snapping up companies in B.C., Alberta and southern Ontario has been acquired by Telus for $137 million.

The Vancouver-based telecommunications giant’s deal for Fully Managed closed last month, Telus spokesman François Marchand said in an email to Techopia on Thursday. 

Fully Managed CEO Mark Scott said in a recent blog post the company began to explore “strategic growth alternatives” over the past year – a process that eventually spawned the deal with Telus.

In an email, Scott called the acquisition “an exciting opportunity for us to continue our vision of becoming the No. 1 managed service provider in North America.”

Launched in 2006, Fully Managed now has 425 employees in Canada and the U.S., 70 of them in its home base of Ottawa. The firm, which serves more than 2,000 customers across North America, also has offices in Calgary, Edmonton, the GTA, London, Ont., Summerside, P.E.I., and Vancouver.

The company uses cloud-based software and remote network monitoring technology to assist customers without requiring support workers to be physically on site. Fully Managed also has a senior care division that provides IT solutions for that sector. 

In the blog post announcing the deal, Scott said demand for managed IT services has “exploded” during the pandemic as employers across North America shifted to a remote-first work model that’s driven more traffic to wireless networks. 

The CEO said joining forces with Telus – a global enterprise that provides internet, wireless and other services as well as health-care software through its various subsidiaries and generates more than $14 billion in annual revenues – gives his firm access to “vast range of resources, world-leading products, networks and both leadership talent and technical expertise to better service our customers and lead in the digital decade ahead.”

Marchand said Fully Managed’s IT expertise will be a “major asset” for Telus as the conglomerate looks to expand its offerings in “IT support, technology strategy and proactive network management.”

The deal puts Fully Managed on the other side of the table after years of being the buyer in a string of M&A transactions.

Formerly known as TUC, the company combined with senior care technology provider CareWorx in 2016. Three years later, the firm ​– by then rebranded as CareWorx ​– acquired Vancouver-based Fully Managed Technology as it pushed to grow its market base in Western Canada and expand its product offerings.

In early 2020, the company secured $25 million in venture financing. Shortly after, it purchased Calgary-based managed services provider TWT Group in a bid to establish a foothold in the Alberta market.

Fully Managed followed that up with two more deals in 2021, acquiring another Calgary IT firm, Wappo Information Services, before buying Toronto-based IT planning, project management and network security services provider Quartet Services last summer.

Chief strategy officer Joel Abramson told Techopia last spring that the company’s expansion drive was bearing fruit, noting about 60 per cent of its revenue growth in 2020 was driven by customers in the U.S., where its clients accounted for 40 per cent of the firm’s total income.

While Fully Managed’s growth slowed early in the pandemic, Abramson said the company’s revenues still rose between 15 and 20 per cent in 2020.

Although on-site work such as firewall installations dropped off in the wake of measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, Abramson said many customers began beefing up their back-end systems to handle the increased flow of wireless traffic.

He also said then that the company had ambitions of becoming a leading player in North American IT and was eyeing more acquisitions as a way to get there. 

“We’re always working on what the next phase of growth looks like,” he said. “This is a high-growth story, and we’ve got some pretty lofty goals."