In what was a garage operation in its early Goleta days, the IT network company Curvature recently merged with North Carolina’s SMS (Systems Management Services) to form a company with redoubled global reach and $500 million in combined revenue. Originating in Hermosa Beach and started by Chuck Sheldon, Curvature, which was known as Network Hardware Resale in 1996, first sold Cisco networking systems and maintained them for the growing number of business noobs who needed computers but hadn’t a clue how to link them together. The company passed the $100 million mark in 2005, the year Sheldon retired as CEO to become chairman of the board; added offices in London, Amsterdam, and Tokyo, among others; changed its name to Curvature in 2014; and under the leadership of Chuck’s son Mike, is now part of the company known as SMS | Curvature. In 2015, according to the company’s online history synopsis, Curvature boasted 650-plus employees, revenue over $300 million, and an entry into the storage market.
SMS specializes in data center and IT support services, and was acquired by Partners Group, a Swiss-based institutional investor, last May. It is Partners that has engineered the merger, having bought Curvature’s shares held by Quad-C, which had purchased a position in Network Hardware in 2012, according to Fortune. Stating $57 billion under management for its investors at its website, Partners becomes the majority shareholder of the combined IT company. Joel Schwartz, partner and head of private equity Americas at Partners, called the merger a “category killer” among IT asset lifecycle services.
The implications for Curvature’s Goleta staff is unknown, though Sheldon told CRN the overlap in customer base between the two companies was less than 10 percent. Company executives were in meetings today about the merger, which may become final by the end of February pending regulatory approval. The Independent will update this story as more information becomes available.