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Ben Chereskin's name may not be familiar to many solution providers, but his actions sure are.
Chereskin managed private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners' $7.3 billion purchase of CDW this year, an unprecedented sale for a channel company.
Although the Harvard-educated Chereskin has shunned the limelight, his management of the merger had channel tongues wagging. All of a sudden, private equity firms that had been calling solution providers for years found their calls returned.
"One of the most popular conversations now is about an exit strategy. Most [VARs] never considered that before," Rick Hamada, COO of distributor Avnet, told CMP Channel last year.
Strong customer bases and cash flow make solution providers hot targets for equity firms, said Michael Carter, managing director of The Musser Group, an equity firm with a stake in InfoLogix.
"The resurgence of private equity adds validation to our space," said Dave Gilden, COO of Acuity Solutions, a Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider.
To date, Chereskin has kept mum about CDW's future, but he told CDW's officers and directors last May that CDW was one of the "most compelling investment opportunities that we've seen in years." `
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