Until recently, the distribution skyline had remained remarkably static for a few years, with resellers growing used to a stable menu of partners.
Globally, the grip of the 'big four' US-based outfits - Ingram, Tech Data, Avnet and Arrow - looked unshakable.
In the UK, the likes of Westcoast, Exertis, Westcon and CMS have also graced the market with an air of permanence.
But resellers will have to reshuffle their supplier contact books this year as that status quo gets blown apart.
The 'big four' look set to become the 'big three' as soon as next week, with Tech Data confirming on Friday that it hopes to close its $2.6bn (£2.1bn) acquisition of Avnet Technology Solutions by the end of February.
That's not bad going since the deal was only announced last September, although it is still awaiting clearance from the European Commission.
The biggest one of the lot, Ingram, was also swallowed by a Chinese conglomerate last year, and who would bet against it going on an acquisition run of its own once the dust settles?
A question mark also hangs over the future of Westcon after its parent Datatec revealed last month that it could be gearing up for a big "transaction", without giving further details.
Most people I've spoken to are working on the assumption that the transaction in question will involve the disposal of Westcon Group, or at least a part of it.
Datatec also owns integrator Logicalis, but most hybrid groups that have split in two have done so by exiting distribution, not resale (think SCC and Computacenter). And having recently completed an ERP upgrade and EMEA business process outsourcing move with Genpact, Westcon is now in a good shape to be sold.
Who would buy Westcon? The most likely candidate - at least theoretically - would be Arrow, which must be desperate to bulk up, having seen its arch rival Avnet joining forces with Tech Data. Arrow also lacks a Cisco business, and Westcon would give it that through its Comstor arm. In fact, some onlookers believe a sale of Comstor alone is not out of the question.
Synnex, a US distributor that is in the Fortune 500 but which lacks international clout, has been mentioned as another theoretical candidate by a couple of people I've spoken to. After all, Westcon, which alongside Comstor operates a unified comms business and a security arm, draws just 36 per cent of sales from North America, with 34 per cent coming from Europe.
Whether this market chatter has any truth to it or not, the fact remains that the distribution market is in biggest state of flux for at least five years. Though the distribution model has shown tremendous resilience, those occupying the middle rung of the channel have seen their margins come under greater pressure than ever, making more mergers of this type a certainty.
The only danger for resellers is whether they are left with a lack of viable alternatives.
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