Merlin R. Gackle, formerly the chief executive of IFC Holdings Inc., is helping a Florida company identify potential acquisitions.

As the director of business development at St. Petersburg-based Multitech Brokerage Solutions Inc. he seeks out privately held companies that specialize in clearing, training, consulting, asset management, and mutual fund processing.

Multitech was founded in July 1994. The original idea was to provide technology services to the bank and securities industries.

But last year its principals decided the company would do better to buy and merge established firms and then go public, said Frank J. McPartland, president and chief executive.

Mr. Gackle and Mr. McPartland are investors in Multitech. So is its chief financial officer, Richard Ayotte, who is chief executive of American Brokerage Consultants in St. Petersburg.

Mr. Gackle, 51, is an executive vice president. He joined Multitech in November.

The company offers tremendous growth potential to private companies and would help them compete more effectively nationally as well as locally, Mr. Gackle said.

"There's a great deal of opportunity to bring the synergies together," he said.

Multitech has deals to buy three companies, including a software integration firm, and is negotiating with about 30 others, Mr. McPartland said.

"There's a lot of companies out there that are doing bits and pieces of everything," he said. "We decided it would be better to bring them all under one umbrella."

"The companies can cross-sell each other's products and services to the existing client base, so there's growth from that. There's cost reductions too," he added.

Mr. McPartland said he expects to have combined revenues of at least $100 million by the time Multitech goes public in the third quarter.

These companies would operate as units, providing banks, brokerages, and insurance companies with an array of financial services, Mr. McPartland said.

These companies would retain their management. "We're not looking to run any of these companies. We're looking to buy them," he said.

Mr. Gackle resigned from IFC Holdings in July. Before becoming its CEO he captained one of its third-party marketing subsidiaries, Invest Financial Corp. of Tampa, which provides brokerage services for banks.

Gerald M. Cole, 61, joined Multitech in July as chairman from Kemper Financial Services of Chicago.

Multitech plans to hire accountants and a marketing staff as the IPO date approaches, Mr. McPartland said.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.