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Carousel to Buy Atrion, Provide Cisco Resale Opportunities

Business Handshake merger

Edward Gately

**Editor’s Note: Please click here for a recap of the biggest channel-impacting mergers in March-April 2016.**

MSP Carousel Industries on Wednesday said it plans to acquire Atrion, creating a fast-growing, privately held IT services firm with a national footprint and $525 million in annual revenue.

Carousel's Jeff GardnerAtrion specializes in security, productivity and collaboration, UC, networking, applications and integrations, and data-center services. This will be Carousel’s ninth acquisition since its inception.

Jeff Gardner, Carousel’s CEO, tells Channel Partners the acquisition gives his company the opportunity to resell Cisco.

“We looked at our base and said we’ve got 6,000 customers and we know 70 percent of them probably already buy Cisco at some level, so what an opportunity that could be for us,” he said. “And over the course of the years and dealing with the different manufacturers, I think we’ve always known, at least with Carousel, that with Cisco, if it was going to happen, it was ‘when’ it was going to happen, and we think the timing is just perfect right now.”  

The deal is expected to close early in the third quarter, subject to customary closing conditions.{ad}

Atrion's Tim Hebert“What really intrigued us even more than just the ability to sell more Cisco was the fact that we could develop more advanced services and sell more of the services that we currently have,” said Tim Hebert, Atrion’s CEO. “So the managed services is an opportunity, the cloud opportunities, some of the consulting opportunities that you have around things like security, definitely open up the doors for both our companies to grow at an ever greater rate of acceleration.”

Since 1992, Carousel has grown by an average of 30 percent annually and today has more than 6,000 customers, including 35 of the Fortune 100. Both companies are based in Rhode Island. Carousel has a national footprint, while Atrion is a super-regional in the Northeast.

Carousel partners “certainly are concerned” about the acquisition, but “we’re really not looking at this that way,” Gardner said.

“We’re looking at it as collectively being able to make the pizza pie bigger, not cut up the slices,” he said. “So with the growth that Tim’s talking about, really it should be a good story for everyone and we’re hoping that the spend goes up for all of our partners. So I don’t see a negative in any way for our partners.”

Hebert said he expects almost all of Atrion’s partners to …

{vpipagebreak}

… grow through the process.

“The complementary nature of what we do will allow us to provide a broader solution set for our clients,” he said. “So if I look at just simply in the data-center space, Carousel has a strong data-center practice, mostly on the infrastructure and security side of things. We have that as well, but we also have the server, we have the storage, we have the operating system, and we have the virtualization as well to add on top of that. So what I think is going to happen is you’re going to see that we’ll be able to package much deeper solutions that will pull through product lines and manufacturers from both sides of the equation.”

Atrion has a “fantastic brand” and Carousel doesn’t want to lose any of that momentum with those customers, Gardner said.

“So Atrion will be Atrion/a Carousel company, and then Carousel will take their brand,” he said. “And from a partner perspective, we’re going to be combined, so we’ll immediately be able to have access to the discount levels and buying levels, and all the good stuff that Atrion has been able to build within the Cisco ecosystem.”


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