Pan-European distributor Exclusive Networks has scotched rumours it will follow in the footsteps of Magirus by conducting a trade sale any time soon.
The Paris-based firm probably has another 12 to 24 months left with its current investors, after which it will seek new private equity investment to grow further through M&A, chief executive Olivier Breittmayer revealed to ChannelWeb.
Magirus – one of Europe's last-remaining regional distribution powerhouses alongside Exclusive – agreed to sell up to pan-global giant Avnet earlier this month. SCH's distribution arm, SDG, was also rumoured to be in talks with Ingram Micro last month. Breittmayer himself is no stranger to distribution trade sales, having flogged his France-based distributor, Newlink, to Allasso in 2000.
But Breittmayer (pictured) brushed off market chit chat that Exclusive could go down the same route as Magirus.
It is only two years since Crédit Agricole Private Equity acquired a 69 per cent shareholding in Exclusive via a leveraged buyout, he stressed.
"Clearly it is too early to think about an exit now," he said. "The next step is to think about replacing the current investors but this will not happen for another 12 to 24 months."
"We are not considering a trade sale, more working with another investor to finance more acquisitions and growth to get us to the next step, which could be €1bn in three to four years," he said.
Exclusive Networks is now present in 14 European countries but Breittmayer denied his firm would make a nice meal for the likes of Avnet, Arrow or Westcon.
"It makes sense for Avnet and Arrow to continue acquiring in Europe as they are still not everywhere," he said. "We are not the best target as we do not work in one country. They just want to complete their map and we are too much in competition with them in some countries.
"We would never say no if someone arrives with a big enough cheque, but that's not the plan."
Exclusive's UK operation is based on its 2011 acquisition of VADition and 2009 acquisition of Arc and the two entities were integrated at the start of this year.
Breittmayer said the UK has been Exclusive's best-performing operation this year in terms of sales and profitability.
"Southern Europe is challenging but the UK and Germany are doing very well," he said.
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