With this week’s news of the impending acquisition of Westcon-Comstor’s North American and Latin American business by Synnex Corp., we caught up with Bob Stegner, senior vice president of marketing North America at Synnex, to find out more about what this means for their customers’ and resellers’ businesses.
As channel watcher Diane Krakora, CEO of PartnerPath, told us, there’s an upside and downside for partners regarding Synnex’s acquisition plans. The upside: Partners will get broader access to products under the Synnex roof. The downside: Consolidation among distributors means fewer to choose from and less competition for resellers’ business.
Nevertheless, that’s the way the industry is moving, and barring any regulatory or other issues, the transaction is slated to close by the end of the second quarter.
Channel Partners: What do resellers need to know about this transaction?
Bob Stegner: One of the important things for resellers to hear is that they won’t see any changes until it closes. And even then the changes will be minimal because we’re going to keep [the businesses] separate for a while.
So the exact same people that you’re dealing with now, you’ll be dealing with after the close too.
CP: What benefits can your customers (resellers) expect from this acquisition?
BS: … One of the big things is our operational expertise, which we’re good at, but also our customers and [Westcon-Comstor’s] customers will have the ability to work with other vendors.
For our customers, that will open up Cisco, Juniper, F5, Palo Alto …
CP: The most net new vendors are in security … Blue Coat, Check Point, FireEye, Fortinet and Symantec — as opposed to networking and UCC. What really stands out is that Cisco looks like a new vendor relationship for Synnex.
BS: Symantec and Avaya … this [acquisition] will enhance our relationship with them. It’s a perfect match for the two companies (Synnex and Westcon-Comstor) because there’s very little crossover.
The way I look at it, Synnex is focused on the servers and storage business, and that makes it complementary to Westcon-Comstor’s security, UCC and networking business.
We have a security practice already but with the vendors that Westcon-Comstor brings to the table, it makes it even stronger. Same thing for UCC; we did play in that market but this [acquisition] will strengthen it.
And networking … if you look at it, we didn’t have Cisco, so this gives us a strong line card. We’re looking forward to seeing the Westcon-Comstor customers (resellers) doing Cisco business continue that relationship, being able to offer those customers additional resources and vendors. And more importantly, our customers now that are very strong Synnex customers that can’t buy Cisco from us … will be able to do so after the [deal] closes.
CP: So for Westcon-Comstor resellers, many of Synnex’s vendor relationships may be net new for them.
BS: It’s too early to tell … but most partners don’t rely on a single distributor. … Some of our partners – and we’ll find out – may have had Cisco, Avaya and Palo Alto products from Westcon-Comstor for years; we just don’t know yet.
CP: So prior to this pending acquisition of Westcon-Comstor, how would you have described Synnex’s business strategy?
BS: If you look at the acquisitions we’ve made and some of the programs we’ve put together, this has not changed our strategic position at all. [Synnex President ad CEO] Kevin Murai set the strategy some time ago and this is just another piece of our puzzle. And if you look at it, it’s also the recognition of consolidation in the distribution marketplace.
CP: Do you know how much overlap there is between Synnex customers and Westcon-Comstor customers?
BS: No, I have no idea, yet.
CP: What would you like your resellers to know? And, the annual Synnex Inspire Conference is October 4-6, in Greenville, South Carolina. Can partners expect to hear more about this acquisition?
BS: We have our national conference is in October, and that’s important because Peter Larocque [president, NA distribution at Synnex] said his team is revamping the conference for the pavilion so we can bring in the new vendors and also for additional hotel rooms for Westcon-Comstor customers, associates and vendors.
I’m moving on that right now. They’ll absolutely be invited as long as we close, and they’ll be a great opportunity to meet executives, etc.
CP: With the acquisition, there will also be market expansion opportunity for resellers, right?
BS: Yes. We bought the Americas business – [North America] and [Latin America] – as well, and that includes 14 countries. We’re in [Latin America] a little bit with Concentrix, but this puts us in a good position. Also, the 10 percent equity in the international side of Westcon — that will also help our customers because it will give them a global footprint.
CP: What about new services opportunities for partners?
BS: I believe there will be, but I don’t know just yet. There might be some that we offer and they don’t and vice versa. There also may be services that one of us has that the other can enhance.
Ultimately, I think this acquisition is good for partners because, using a shopping analogy, they’ll be able to fill up their cart with more of the items that they need without having to go to two or three stores. It’s also an easier way to do business versus dealing with multiple sources to fulfill their needs.
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