The Wick Hill, Zycko and SIPHON names are to be phased out this year, with the trio's new holding company, Nuvias Group, becoming the predominant brand from 1 April.
Nuvias Group is the new distribution venture of Rigby Private Equity (RPE), which was launched by Rigby Group in 2015 with a £50m fund.
Having run alongside the Wick Hill, Zycko and SIPHON names for the last nine months, Nuvias will become the primary brand from Monday, Nuvias CEO Paul Eccleston (pictured) confirmed.
The rebrand is the latest step in Nuvias' efforts to build a high-value distribution business that can operate consistently across EMEA, Eccleston told CRN.
Operating in 18 countries and selling into 30, Nuvias currently has about 430 staff and will record revenues approaching $400m (£321m) in its financial year ending tomorrow. It counts Riverbed as its largest vendor.
"We created the group brand of Nuvias last July and have been in the process of transition," Eccleston said.
"On 1 April, Nuvias will be the predominant brand and we will also launch some brand extensions, so you will see Nuvias Cybersecurity, Nuvias Advanced Networking, and Nuvias Unified Communications.
"We'll evolve through the year to be Nuvias."
The Wick Hill and Zycko names will continue run in the background, at least in those countries familiar with the brands, but this will be for a "relatively short period of time", Eccleston indicated.
RPE acquired Wick Hill in July 2015, Zycko in December 2015 and SIPHON in October 2016, and Eccleston claimed that all three had performed above expectations since they joined the group. The goal is now to achieve complete coverage of EMEA's major markets, with further acquisitions likely.
"We're in 13 of the 15 largest economies in EMEA today, and that's pretty good coverage. Turkey is very interesting, but it's probably not the right time. Nigeria would be a much bigger decision."
"We may make acquisitions in countries we are not in today," Eccleston said. "We're in 13 of the 15 largest economies in EMEA today, and that's pretty good coverage. We don't plan to be in Russia or the CIS, and the next biggest countries are Turkey and Nigeria. Turkey is very interesting, but it's probably not the right time. Nigeria would be a much bigger decision. We might also acquire because we are in a country but there's an opportunity to add more capacity."
Nuvias has spent the last six months planning how to replicate SIPHON's unified comms capabilities in mainland Europe, Eccleston said. Wick Hill and Zycko both had a presence on the continent, but the distributor is still in the process of rolling out their respective security and networking capabilities in some countries, he added.
Eccleston, who had worked with Sir Peter Rigby at his previous distribution venture SDG, said the idea for Nuvias came about because there was a hole in the distribution sector.
"I went back to the [Rigby Group] board and said 'I think there's a gap in the market in EMEA to create a distribution business that is very high value but can also execute consistently across EMEA'," he said.
"The grand plan is to be able to say we can fully execute on that vision and I think we are further ahead on that vision than anyone else."
Distribution for the cloud era
Eccleston said Nuvias' structure has been tailored to support that vision. It splits its business into four regions - north, south, central, and Middle East and Africa - each of which has a hub that can provide marketing and engineering support to the countries they encompass.
"They then get the additional support from the hub, rather than having to come back to the glorious ivory tower in the UK, which doesn't add value to customers," Eccleston said. "That model allows us to flex quickly as we build out the business."
Eccleston stressed that 80 of Nuvias' 400 or so employees are technical staff, which he claimed is "extraordinarily high" for a distribution business.
"The VAD world of distribution was appropriate for the VAR days, but we're not in those days anymore."
"We talk about redefining distribution, which is a grand statement, but what we mean by that is redefining it to be all about the distribution of capability as well as product," he said. "It's the capability that pulls through the technology. We have to distribute knowledge enablement capability, rather than just thinking about fulfilling product.
"Broadline, volume distribution was appropriate for the PC dealer days, and the VAD world of distribution was appropriate for the VAR days, but we're not in those days anymore; we're in the cloud era, where solutions providers have to solve customer problems no matter what the consumption model."
Nuvias' goal is to generate more "autonomous revenues" for each of its brands than their other distributors, even when it is sharing the market with as many as five competitors.
"One of your concerns if you're in a landscape with a lot of other distributors is the pressure on margins and therefore your ability to differentiate and deliver value," he said. "But what I'm pleased with when I looked at Wick Hill, Zycko and SIPHON during due diligence is they were all able to offer enough service to differentiate enough to justify enough of a price to deliver value; value in sales, value in operations, value in marketing, technical services, support services: in each of those areas we need to be the most capable party with the technology we carry."
Although RPE's ultimate aim is to look for an exit like any other private equity firm, the funding it provides is evergreen, Eccleston stressed.
"For most funds, there is an end point, at which point it has to pay out and close. The beauty for us is that our principle investor is providing funding on an evergreen basis," he said. "He is also a knowledgeable investor in the sector, and I'm reporting back to people who understand distribution, and don't need to know why December and March are busy."
Nuvias clung onto the Wick Hill and Zycko brand names for a good stint - 21 months in the case of the former - due to their brand equity, Eccleston said.
"We thought we might [drop them] now, but in our view it's important we don't do that yet," he said. "We've done some research in the UK and Germany on the brand identity of Nuvias. It's very good, but it's not complete, and we will take a touchpoint on this every quarter."
Eccleston also hinted that Nuvias is in the process of building some other capabilities besides security, networking and UC, but said it is too early to reveal any details.
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