Following Annodata's recent acquisition by Kyocera, another sizeable print reseller has been gobbled up by one of its vendors, in this instance Sharp.
Sharp Electronics Europe has grabbed Midshire, a £28.5m-revenue reseller that placed 94th in CRN's 2016 Top VARs report.
The Birmingham, Stockport and Cardiff-based office technology reseller will become part of Sharp Business Systems UK, but will operate independently under its own brand.
Sharp Business Solutions specialises in printers, interactive displays and IT services, and said the move would boost its national sales coverage and hand it a presence in Wales.
Although instances of vendors buying resellers or services firms in the mainstream IT channel are relative rare, it's a more common practice in the print space, with Ricoh, Kyocera and Xerox all getting in on the act in recent years.
Such deals often prompt questions over possible direct versus channel conflict, and to what extent they will lead to a change in the acquired firm's vendor strategy.
A representative at Midshire, however, told CRN that "nothing is changing for the foreseeable future". "We are still going to be selling HP and Lexmark, and all the other brands; it's very much business as usual," they said.
In a statement, Stuart Sykes, managing director of SBSUK, said: "This is a concrete statement of SBSUK's ongoing commitment and ambitious plans for growth, as are the various initiatives and investments we are making with dealers through our indirect operation.
"If we are to reach our growth objectives, we need both the direct and indirect channels to grow significantly. Sharp remains wholly focused on making this happen in both channels as well as with our visual solutions and EPOS businesses."
Midshire managing director Phil Powell added: "We are keen to expand what we do as a business and this deal provides us with the support of an international manufacturer and with it the long-term investment and expertise to benefit our clients."
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