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Several other top Cisco Gold partners have made similar M&A deals in the past year. Some of the best-known examples include Presidio's acquisition of BlueWater Communications Group, ePlus' various acquisitions, including of former West Coast Cisco power Pacific Blue Micro, and the merger of top Canadian VARs Softchoice and Unis Lumin.
Cisco itself doesn't publicly bless the deals, but behind the scenes, Cisco executives are active in making recommendations to solution providers and assisting with due diligence, multiple VAR sources have told CRN. Cisco is also urging Gold- and Silver-level partners to consider M&A as a way to bulk up their capabilities and align with Cisco's cross-portfolio architecture approach to the market.
Rob Lloyd, Cisco executive vice president, worldwide operations, told CRN during several interviews over the past year that Cisco expects M&A among its partners to continue apace.
"I'd anticipate the consolidation trend will continue," Lloyd said in April. "I'd anticipate that because we're the market leader, and many of those companies that will become part of bigger organizations will be in the Cisco channel. We're the market leader. We're very supportive of making this happen relative to the role we can play in making the right things happen. So we will see a constant drumbeat of consolidation as the market becomes more relevant and companies serving these customers look at expanding their capabilities."