Spate of Four Acquisitions in Operations and Fulfillment

It’s been a busy time for M&A activity in the provider sector of operations and fulfillment for retail and ecommerce, with no less than four acquisition deals announced.

FOG Software Group, a division of Vela Software, and Constellation Software, Inc. announced the acquisition of shipping software firm ProShip from Quadient, formerly Neopost. ProShip will continue to operate as a separate entity within FOG, as it had previously under Quadient.

“ProShip is a great addition to our growing portfolio of supply chain software,” said Andy Hodge, FOG Software Group Portfolio Manager for Supply Chain and Logistics in a release. “We are delighted to welcome ProShip with their proven, carrier-compliant solutions for medium- and high-volume shippers, and their impressive, company-wide focus on maximizing customers’ return on investment.”

“FOG Software Group acquiring ProShip is a fantastic outcome for our employees, customers and partners,” said Matt Mullen, President of ProShip, in an email. “They only buy software companies and hold them for life. Our focus will continue to be maintaining a high level of service to our customers and delivering market leading, world-class shipping solutions.”

In another deal, equipment manufacturer Hy Tek Material Handling has acquired supply chain consultancy Johnson Stephens Consulting. Similar to the FOG/ProShip deal, Johnson Stevens Consulting will continue to operate standalone and service existing clients, including major retailers like Neiman Marcus, The Home Depot and Dick’s Sporting Goods. It will also lend its expertise on distribution and ecommerce projects for Hy Tek.

“We worked for many years with Johnson Stephens and we liked the quality of their work,” said Donny Johnson, president of integrated systems for Hy Tek. “We had a small design/build group in house, but noticed a lot of other players had a much larger group. So, we looked at several firms and JSC seemed to have the best skillset in distribution and ecommerce, which is about 80% of our business.”

Johnson added that Hy Tek was often one of three or four vendors bidding on Johnson Stephens RFPs, and worked with them on a number of projects. “Their people are extremely talented,” he said.

Kion Group, parent of fulfillment systems maker Dematic, announced the acquisition of Digital Applications International Limited, a UK-based software company specializing in logistics automation solutions, on behalf of Dematic. The deal was valued at about $135 million, representing Kion’s largest investment since acquiring Dematic in 2016.

Scott Wahl, VP of global software solutions for Dematic, said the addition of DAI’s WMS significantly expands the capability of Dematic’s intralogistics software to support the movement, storage and distribution of goods throughout the supply chain.

“DAI’s WMS broadens our capabilities by addressing a wider range of applications, from primarily manual operations to fully automated supply chain ecosystems,” Wahl said. 

While Dematic did have some WMS capabilities, it was not complete, Wahl said. “This is why in the past we had partnered with DAI for projects requiring full a WMS,” he said. “So how this fits is really hand in glove — the next logical step of our longstanding partnership.”

Lastly, ERP, supply chain management and compliance solutions provider Aptean announced the acquisition of UK-based transportation management firm Paragon Software Systems, which focuses on food and beverage, distribution and retail.

The acquisition expands Aptean’s presence in Europe and adds purpose-built TMS software handling routing, logistics, scheduling and home delivery.

“This is an exciting and strategic acquisition for Aptean as we continue to expand our solution offerings and footprint globally,” said TVN Reddy, CEO of Aptean in a release. “We see numerous growth opportunities given Paragon’s strengths in route optimizing and home delivery capabilities.”