OpenPSL's possible initial public offering (IPO) hangs in the balance as it appointed SME investment services provider Altium to test the market before any decision is made.
Speaking to CRN last week, Jonathan Ellis, sales and marketing director at OpenPSL, said the company is only looking at the possibility of an IPO, and that everything will depend on investor attitudes.
"If they have a good appetite for buying then it could be a good opportunity," he said.
In 1998, Mike Kontowtt, chief executive of OpenPSL, made it clear that an IPO or trade sale was planned after the firm was the subject of a management buy-out.
Kontowtt said he planned to grow the business for three to five years, but that a flotation or trade sale could be considered.
If the company decides to take the trade sale route, rivals including Bell Microproducts, Magirus and InTechnology are believed to be interested.
Sources have said that buying OpenPSL would make any of these firms a leading distributor for servers and storage.
Altium, the distributor's new adviser, was formerly part of venture capitalist Apax Partners. A representative at Apax, which owns about 70 per cent of OpenPSL, said the firm is free to carry out exit strategies on its own.
"We leave all companies to do their own thing unless they need help," she said.
Alistair Edwards, senior analyst at Canalys, said a trade sale would be a better option than an IPO.
"The distribution model can be hard to sell to investors, especially in the current climate. OpenPSL is a strong company, but I am not sure there is understanding among investors in this climate," he said.
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