Ingram Micro’s Paul Bay On IPO: ‘It’s A Pride Thing’
‘Going public can be good from an employee perspective because you’ve got a publicly-traded company that people can celebrate being in the public markets,’ says Paul Bay, Ingram Micro CEO.
Taking Ingram Micro public is still in the works, according to Paul Bay, CEO of the giant technology distributor.
“It really gives access to additional capital along the way, not that we need that with Platinum, but it’s a pride thing,” Bay told CRN.
Last year, the Irvine, Calif.-based company submitted a draft registration statement to go public through a Form S-1 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
At the time, Ingram wrote in a statement that, “The number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined. The initial public offering is expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.”
In July of 2021 Ingram Micro was acquired by private equity powerhouse Platinum Equity for $7.2 billion, which freed the company from financially troubled Chinese conglomerate HNA Group. The deal took seven months to complete.
Before being acquired by HNA in 2016, Ingram was a public company.
For decades Ingram was the world’s largest IT distributor but was knocked down to second place when its two biggest rivals, Tech Data and Synnex, merged in September 2021 to form a new company, TD Synnex.
However, what differentiates Ingram is its more than $600 million investment, both organically and inorganically, in cloud, Bay said.
“Some of the other specialized people that are delivering technology, now you can come in and we have a project where we’re bringing together our cloud marketplace into that same experience that you can have from all the other technology and services you buy from Ingram Micro,” he told CRN in an exclusive interview. “So it’s one place to come and one experience to be able to manage. Our data shows that we have six products and services that are made up of our technology delivery through our partners out to the end user on a global basis.”
Check out what else Bay had to say on going public, M&A and AI.
What’s the latest on going public?
We’re in the process. We filed a [SEC Form] S-1 a year-and-a-half ago to go public. We filed a confidential notice to go public, which basically just means you're going public. Then we have to just keep the SEC and all the paperwork updated on a quarterly basis. When that time’s appropriate, then we'll go public. In the meantime, we’ve got a great sponsor in Platinum Equity. They'll continue to support our goals, objectives and our investments, which we've continued.
Why do you want to go public?
Going public can be good from an employee perspective because you’ve got a publicly-traded company that people can celebrate being in the public markets. It really gives access to additional capital along the way, not that we need that with Platinum, but it’s a pride thing. From an associate perspective, they can say they work for a Fortune whatever company it’s going to be at that time we go public.
What are your thoughts on M&A in the industry?
We saw the one of the largest, if not the largest, one for Cisco [acquiring Splunk]. I would tell you from an Ingram Micro standpoint, we’re also going to continue to look. We’re doing some tuck-in acquisitions but it’ll be more around what we’re doing and the opportunities and needs that our solution providers have. We’ve done some tuck-in acquisitions around the globe over the last couple of years, and that’s really around enhancing skill sets to augment and supplement our partner needs, goals and objectives. So we’ll continue to look at that and be active, but it’s really around the opportunity to expand our own skill set.
What are the challenges and opportunities Ingram has with the macro-economic environment?
We’re not public so I don’t disclose categories, but one of our top priorities is around advanced solutions and specialty products. We have over 11,000 certifications on a global basis. We have Centers of Excellence in each of the regions on a global basis to really help our vendors and customers, and we’ll continue to enhance those skill sets. If you look at areas like cloud, data center or hybrid infrastructure, professional services… we’re going to really take a more professional services viewpoint as we move forward. There’s been challenges in the desktop, notebook and endpoint products because of the spike that happened during Covid, and I think over a period of time we’ll go back and look at this moment in time and see that technology still had really good growth rates. But security, cloud, data center infrastructure, those advanced solutions have still seen robust growth for us over the past handful of quarters.
What opportunities and challenges do you think AI poses to technology?
I think the challenge is, it’s the unknown. So what’s going to happen? Does this become some type of government regulation? What are the boundaries of this, because the sandbox is so big right now. The opportunity really is how do we drive that frictionless experience for our partners, ultimately out to the end user. It’s about how do we create that experience that’s as touchless as possible, anywhere, anytime, and having the right product at the right price at the right time. We can free up time to go have a conversation with our solution providers and, ultimately, them with their end users. AI is going to allow us that ability to get things right as we get the data in. Ultimately for us, it’s all about the data and the insights. It’s learning every single day, every single transaction, to help us be a better company so it becomes a touchless conversation.
What makes Ingram stand out from TD Synnex and Pax8?
I think first and foremost: our people, where we’re at and our reach that we have from a global perspective. We can have the ability to reach nearly 90 percent of the world’s population as a true global company. Furthermore, if you look at what we’re doing around Xvantage, what we’re doing from a digital perspective and this ability to listen and understand the needs and opportunities that they have, it’s truly given a single pane of glass, one experience where somebody can come in and manage their whole business. Some of the other specialized people that are delivering technology, now you can come in and we have a project where we’re bringing together our cloud marketplace into that same experience that you can have from all the other technology and services you buy from Ingram Micro. So it’s one place to come, one experience to be able to manage, and then our data shows that we have six products and services that are made up of our technology delivery through our partners out to the end user on a global basis. It’s not just security. It’s not cloud. It’s not data center. It’s not just a desktop or notebook. It’s across the entire business outcome that they’re trying to solve for and now you can come into Ingram Micro and get in at one place.