Networking distributor Westcon has brushed off suggestions there will be a large-scale personnel purge following its acquisition of rival Crane Telecommunications and insisted it is still on the acquisition trail.
As revealed by CRN last week (CRN Online, 11 April), Westcon will pay up to £20.7m to buy communications specialist distributor Crane just over a month after landing pan-European security distributor Noxs.
Although both Westcon and Crane’s UK arms stock Avaya, Nortel and Mitel, Westcon hinted Crane would keep its brand name and claimed there would be minimal staff losses.
Jon Pritchard, vice president of Westcon Group UK, told CRN: “This move puts us as the pre-eminent convergence distributor in the UK. We’ll now be doing around £220m in our core Cisco business, £120m in communications with Avaya, Nortel and Mitel and around £30m in security.
“Crane has a fantastic brand and we expect it to continue in the UK,” he said. “Where there is duplication of resources we will look to redeploy personnel to emerging business areas within Crane, which is in advanced talks with a number of new vendors at the moment.”
But Campbell Williams, group marketing director at reseller ATC - which recently acquired rival communications distributor Rocom (CRN, 21 August) - said: “Westcon and Crane are selling substantially the same portfolio to substantially the same base of resellers. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a period of big personnel cuts.
“There was a sense of relief it was us buying Rocom and not a distributor, because if that had happened they knew half the staff would have lost their jobs.”
Crane made an operating profit of £2.1m on a turnover of £74m in 2006.
John Donovan, managing director for UK and Ireland channels at Cisco, said: “This is a great opportunity for Westcon to strengthen its position in the voice market. It also offers Cisco an opportunity in terms of a new set of resellers we can target.”
Pritchard also hinted the Crane deal – which is set to close by early May – would not be Westcon’s last: “We’ve now bought to pan-European distributors in quick succession but there are still technologies and geographies where we aren’t dominant. We are still in acquisition mode.”
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