As the popular saying goes, “If you can’t beat them, join them,” or, in the case of competing businesses, “buy them.” This was the joke that Scott Stavretis shared during a recent press conference where the merger of two Australian business process outsourcing (BPO) companies based in the Philippines and Australia was announced. Stavretis is the CEO of Acquire BPO (Acquire), one of the fastest-growing BPO companies in the Philippines with more than 5,000 employees.
During the conference, Stavretis announced that his company recently completed the 100 percent acquisition of Shore Solutions Inc. (Shore), another fast-growing BPO company based in the Philippines with around 2,000 employees. The merger brings together more than 7,000 employees in the quest to provide a full suite of outsourcing operations for major corporations located across Asia, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Stavretis, who is also the CEO of Shore Solutions now, said that Acquire’s second acquisition in less than a year further solidifies their strategic plans to accelerate growth as well as increase their market share in the industry. In particular, he said the acquisition “offers several exciting opportunities in diversifying our current offering and bolstering our revenue.” He pointed out that since Shore is a market leader in the BPO side of the business with strong expertise on Human Resource Outsourcing (HRO), Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO), IT and other professional services, the acquisition would greatly complement Acquire’s outsourcing capabilities.
According to its official website, Acquire was established in 2005 as a captive environment by two Australian entrepreneurs in response to a lack of off-shoring providers with a solution that met their high standards. The company provides contact center and BPO services for a wide range of industries, including telecommunications, banking and financial services, insurance, media, education, and retail. It operates seven facilities in Australia and the Philippines, servicing a global client base of private, as well publicly listed companies, including some Fortune 500 companies. Acquire’s expanded portfolio of services, meanwhile, includes customer service, sales, technical support, retention campaigns, and software development animation, among others. It currently mostly services the Australian and US markets.
Stavretis said his recent acquisition of Shore is also a result of the continuing evolution of the industry. He said, “The voice business component of the industry is not going to go elsewhere. But the actual clients’ interactions are changing. In clients’ contact centers, they’re moving away from the basic voice, they’re moving towards web chats and social media interaction, but its still a contact center.”
With the recent move, Stavretis said he hopes Acquire will eventually become one of the top ten BPO companies in the country. He added that the goal of reaching the top ten is set within a time frame of two to five years. He also said that he is open to the prospect of acquiring more companies, which will help Acquire reach its goals faster.
Stavretis certainly possesses the experience to determine where the industry is headed. Prior to Acquire, he was the chief operating officer and executive manager of Dodo, Australia’s largest private telecommunications company. He is credited for transforming the company into a national consumer brand from a mere consumer telecom provider with the formation of Dodo Power and Gas. He also helped launch the company’s insurance and security arms.
The CEO and founding director of Acquire is also acknowledged as one of the pioneers of the internet industry in Australia, tagged behind the establishment of Connect Direct Internet in 1996, which he later sold.
These days, he said he is focused on expanding his BPO company at a faster rate. This includes plans to open an office in the United States, to grow that side of his business, which currently comprise about 25 percent of his clientele.
With so many things going on, Stavretis admitted that he really does not have much time to pursue other interests at the moment aside from managing his companies and spending time with family. But it is a situation that he warmly embraces. As he proudly declared, “Big business has always been my passion and my hobby. It excites me, gets me up in the morning and keeps me going.” After all, he said that one needs to be aggressive and disruptive in this market, and one cannot just sit back. He said there is a time and place for everything. And, for him, now is the time for putting all his energy into growing his business further. “I want to have some fun and disrupt the place and grow our businesses,” he said. And there’s simply nowhere else he would rather be.