The channel is still digesting the shock news that Ingram has been acquired by Chinese conglomerate HNA for $6bn (£4.2bn).
CRN will be speaking to people throughout the day and adding comments as they arrive, but so far the overwhelming reaction is positive, and it is thought that the move could open up new and welcome trade channels into China.
Colin Brown, managing director of Softcat, said: “It is hot news. I think you've got to take them at face value that things will continue as is. It is an interesting shift in the market with east and west, to some extent.
“[Ingram’s acquisition, CDW’s Kelway buy and Softcat’s IPO] have livened up the market a little bit. You see other organisations in our area reacting to that a bit and it is almost like they are deciding they have to get their act together a little bit and move onto the next level. It is exciting times.”
Chris Dunning, chief executive of TechQuarters, agreed that the move is positive for the market:
“I think it will obviously mean there will be more Chinese trade going on, so it will open doors for partners around the world; not just in America but in Europe to do more business with the Chinese,” he said. “And also to help understand their culture. We are heavily involved in doing training with Office 365 and we are recording it in other languages at the moment and we are thinking we might need to do it in Chinese pretty soon.
“I think it will only be a positive thing for us and while it will be a culture change for a few people – the Chinese will impress their culture on a few people – I think it’s exciting. It’s opening up more doors and certainly with our channel product.”
He said the acquisition could mean seismic shifts in the market structure too.
“The interesting thing is that in my view, Ingram were massive already, and for a large company like that to get bought, it might open the floodgates for others. It’s making the world a smaller place. I think it will force them [other distributors] to expand, and it will force us to expand outside our geographic regions. But also the fact a Chinese giant has bought Ingram means the competition Ingram had before need to sharpen up their act.”
Alex Tatham, managing director of Westcoast, said the move cements the value of distribution in the IT industry.
“It’s enormous news and great news for Ingram’s shareholders,” Tatham said. “It’s great news for staff, and I think it shows the value of distribution. “Generally, people are looking at distribution and the things distribution does – IT distribution in particular. IT distribution tends to be very, very capable of doing things cheaply and very well. I think you find a lot of the innovation in distribution comes from IT. IT distribution has really come through and as a result, I can see its value to lots of people. Why wouldn’t a large logistics company want to associate itself with a large and extremely good distributor like Ingram Micro?
“I can’t even imagine there will be any change at all. You could say some American partners might get a bit tiddly about [Ingram] having a Chinese owner, but actually I don’t think that’s true anymore – we live in a global economy. If you’re good and good at your job, it doesn’t matter who owns you. I think Ingram are extremely good at their job and are an extremely well-run global business. They will probably become more of a threat to Westcoast and other distributors because of what the power of China will mean.”
Dave Stevinson, managing director of Entatech, said the news came as a surprise, but it was a positive development for distribution.
“There appears little abatement in China’s appetite for acquiring Western technology assets," he said. "I assume this is a change in equity ownership only at this stage but it certainly strengthens HNA Group’s capabilities and shows their ambitions in transforming to a supply chain management firm.”
“Personally I am delighted to see the huge premium on the share price that has been agreed. This fills me with incredible optimism and recognises the real value of channel distribution companies.”
“I was startled to hear of the deal and it certainly made my acquisition of Entatech last week appear very modest in comparison.”
What do you think of the acquisition? Get in touch and let us know.
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