Prophet 21, Yardley, Pa., has acquired Trade Service Systems Inc., one of the powerhouses in the electrical software industry, from TradePower.

Prophet 21, a diversified software provider with interests in several different segments of the wholesale business, will combine Trade Service Systems and Prophet 21 into a single entity under the Prophet 21 name. Prophet 21 will support, market and sell Trade Service Systems' products and services.

“Prophet 21 has just completed a successful fiscal year that balanced strong organic growth with several acquisitions,” said Chuck Boyle, Prophet 21's president and CEO. “We are pleased to continue that strategy with the acquisition of Trade Service Systems. Trade Service Systems is a powerful solution provider in the electrical market and together we will serve more than 600 electrical distributors.”

Prophet 21 has hired Mike Wentz, former vice president of sales and marketing, TradePower as its director of business development. Dean Jester, president of TradePower, will not join Prophet 21.

The purchase did not include TradePower's end-user product offerings, Estimation Inc. and TradePower's former e-Business Solutions division. Estimation Holdings Inc. of Linthicum Heights, Md., has retained ownership of Estimation. TradePower acquired Estimation in 2000 to bridge the gap between the software systems used by distributors and contractors.

The company has renewed a lease on Trade Service Systems' building in Blue Bell, Pa., until April 2005. As that date gets closer, Prophet 21 will decide whether to keep the Blue Bell location or to combine it with its Yardley operations. “We want to be sure we retain the employees (necessary to give the customers high-quality service and support),” said Levin.

Founded in 1969, Trade Service Systems was generally regarded as the largest supplier of distribution software for electrical distributors. Prophet 21 has focused on a broad array of distribution industries but has always had a solid presence in the electrical market.

Prophet 21 was founded by John and Dorothy Meggitt in 1967. The company's management team recently bought the company and took it private. According to a report last year in Modern Distribution Management, in 2003 the management team bought the company with a $70-million cash deal from the Meggitts, who had been 51.2 percent shareholders. Prophet 21 went private through a merger agreement with an entity formed by Thoma Cressey Equity Partners Inc., Chicago, Ill., and LLR Partners Inc., Philadelphia.

Levin wants to assure customers that Prophet 21 will continue to support and enhance the Trade Service Systems product. “I think they will see a lot of additional services and products available to them just because of our size.”