eCommerce hosting specialist Sonassi acquired by iomart in £16.5m deal

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Salford-based Sonassi has been acquired by managed hosting and cloud services provider iomart in a deal which could be worth up to £16.5m.

Sonassi specialises in eCommerce websites, particularly Magento and Oro Commerce sites, and its customers include international brands, UK high street retailers and a range of fast-growing fashion websites.    

It's the second eCommerce hosting specialist acquired by iomart - which has offices in Manchester and Leeds - this year, following its purchase of Redditch-based Simple Servers in July.

Angus MacSween, CEO of iomart, said: “We believe eCommerce is an area of the market which provides a good opportunity for future growth and we plan to use the acquisition of both of these operations to firmly establish iomart as a provider of choice in this significant market sector.” 

The deal involves an initial payment of £10m in cash, with a further £1m subject to the completion of a software development project, and a final sum of no more than £5.5m dependent on Sonassi’s profitability in the year ending July 2018.

iomart owns and operates eight datacentres in the UK with a further 19 locations across the globe. 

Sonassi was founded by Manchester entrepreneur Benjamin Lessani in 2008. Originally the company specialised in building websites based on the Magento eCommerce application, however in recent years it has focused on providing the hosting after developing its own operating system, known as MageStack, which was engineered specifically for Magento and Oro Commerce.

Lessani said: “As part of iomart we will have access to the best infrastructure, connectivity, and skillset there is. It’s a very exciting move for us and we’re looking forward to working with Angus and his team to create a market-leading eCommerce hosting division.” 

Sonassi is the second acquisition iomart has made in Manchester in recent years. In 2012 it bought Melbourne Server Hosting which has been fully integrated into and recently re-branded as iomart.  

Peter Terry and Daniel Brecker, of Grant Thornton, advised on the deal.