BT to acquire IT service provider Tikit

Telecoms giant BT plans to move into the market for managed services among professional services organisations with a bid for specialist IT services provider Tikit.

The bid announced last month values Tikit at around £64.2m and was unanimously recommended by the Tikit board to the company’s shareholders.

In BT’s bid announcement, Gavin Patterson, the chief executive officer of BT Retail explained: “Tikit represents a highly complementary fit with BT Retail’s existing IT strategy and strengthens our position in the provision of ICT services to legal firms in the UK. The offer will enable us to combine  Tikit’s expertise, portfolio, relationships and deep understanding of the legal sector with BT Retail’s scale and breadth of products.”

But it’s not just the legal sector that BT will be buying into. During a life of corporate nomadism, Tikit was the network and integration services division within Solution 6 and served accountancy clients such as Kingston Smith, where the services provider managed the firm’s systems on a thin client system over a wide-area network linking several offices.

Following MYOB’s acquisition of Solution 6 in 2005, however, the Australian purchaser decided that the network services division didn’t fit with its focus on bookkeeping and accounting software and sold the division on to Tikit for A$2.5m (just over £1m at 2005 rates).

Following that deal, Tikit remained a strategic partner with MYOB in the UK and acted as its preferred supplier for infrastructure projects.

The Solution 6/Pertax heritage left a legacy of several large accountancy firms that continue to be customers of Tikit’s network and infrastructure division. The other side of the company specialises in document and knowledge management and resells Autonomy’s Worksite system. While this application has become widely used in the legal profession, it is beginning to cross over into accountancy and is now also being used at Kingston Smith and other firms.

Andrew Guy, head of IT at Kingston Smith said the firm was “very happy” with the service it has received from Tikit over the past decade, but added: “If it turned into a large BT organisation and we lost the personal touch, we would look to review our arrangements.

“We like the service level we receive by being one of Tikit’s larger clients and would not wish to become a small fish in a big pond.”