PC Connection on Friday won a three-way bidding war to acquire the assets of 22-year-old, $200 million solution provider Amherst Technologies, sources said.
The $1.5 billion PC Connection beat out rivals ePlus and PC Mall. The deal comes after a U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge earlier this week converted Merrimack, N.H.-based Amherst Technologies' Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing last July into a Chapter 7 liquidation and appointed a trustee to oversee the case. PC Connection and Amherst would not comment.
With the assets up for auction, a number of Amherst's 200 employees were already negotiating deals to join PC Connection, sources said. That may have given PC Connection an advantage in the auction battle, given its cross-town Merrimack, N.H., location.
PC Connection plans to take on all of Amherst's sales and engineering staff as part of an expansion of PC Connection's MoreDirect sales arm and its ServiceConnection engineering arm, sources said. They said the deal significantly expands MoreDirect's product line and services capabilities. Amherst has seven branches, including offices in Tampa, Fla., three locations in Texas, and an office in Santa Clara, Calif. "There is a lot of hope and optimism with PC Connection coming in to acquire the assets," said one source inside Amherst. "There is a good feeling right now."
The deal puts PC Connection into direct competition with direct-market reseller Insight Enterprises, which earlier this year invested in a program to retrain its sales force to sell solutions as opposed to products. Amherst itself has been in the midst of a shift to move from product sales to solution sales.
The last-minute PC Connection deal comes after Herndon, Va.-based ePlus announced two weeks ago that it had signed an exclusive letter of intent to purchase the operating assets of Amherst for $2 million in cash. It also follows U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge J. Michael Deasey's approval earlier this week of a motion from IBM Credit to lift a stay, allowing IBM Credit to seize collateral securing its $32.7 million debtor in possession loan.