Hewlett Packard (HP) has killed off industry rumours that it was playing a stronger role in last week's Westcoast/Actebis agreement, but has given the deal its full blessing.
Westcoast chairman Joe Hemani became chief executive of Actebis last week, with the option to gain full or partial ownership of the company, in a deal that left the distribution world reeling. HP is the dominant vendor for both Westcoast and Actebis.
Jos Brenkel, vice-president channels at HP, told vnunet.com's sister title CRN: "To say we were involved [financially] was complete speculation and disruptive information from other channel partners. If we decided to fund one of our partners it would kill the distribution model.
"However, we are very positive about the deal. In a business where distribution is having a tough time, Westcoast is [still] growing. If Joe Hemani does buy Actebis, we will support him by giving him the contracts."
Roger Mather, managing director of Actebis Distribution UK, said the future looks good for the two firms.
"In our first meeting last week Joe came across well. He has a clear vision and demonstrated strong leadership, which Actebis as a business has lacked slightly over the last couple of years," he said.
"Actebis has previously been known as a German distributor with satellites, but if the sale goes ahead it will give us the chance to become the largest independent distributor in Europe and the second largest pan-European distributor."
Steve Brazier, chief executive of Canalys, said: "It is very likely this deal will happen. It has shaken up the industry with not many expecting it."
Brazier added that Hemani has a big job ahead of him. "First Actebis has to be turned into a profitable distributor. In Europe, distribution is different than in the US, and HP is trying to drive down the cost of distribution," he said.
"If Hemani can do this with Actebis across Europe, it could cause problems for Ingram and Tech Data, which may have to rethink their strategies.
"But it will be at least nine months to a year before we see the full impact of this acquisition."
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