Westcon Grows In Europe With Landis Acquisition

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Westcon Group has agreed to acquire Netherlands-based distributor Landis Group, giving the U.S. networking distributor a significant European presence and stronger manufacturer relationships, Westcon executives said.

A $400 million distributor with 600 employees, Landis focuses on the data networking, telecommunication, systems and storage, and network security markets through value-added distribution, services and training, the company said.

Westcon signed a letter of intent to acquire Landis because of geographic opportunities and technology and operational synergies, said Alan Marc Smith, CEO of Westcon Group.

"This [acquisition significantly enhances the profile of the Westcon Group," said Smith. "We now have the ability to offer our customers the opportunity to pursue large global opportunities."

Pending final approval, the acquisition gives Westcon a new presence in seven European countries and strengthens its footprint on three others, the company said. Landis has locations in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Distribution centers are located in France, Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

Although Westcon had Landis on its radar for about a year, the U.S. distributor has only been "actively engaged" is discussions with Landis for the last three months, Smith said. A slow economy and industry had little impact on Westcon's decision to move forward with the acquisition plans, he said.

"If your business model is successful, then there's no reason to change your model just because the economy is [in a slowdown," Smith said. "I'm extremely excited about being able to enhance our profile and expand our opportunities."

Landis will enable Westcon to expand its key relationships with manufacturer partners Avaya Communication, Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks, Smith said. For example, Landis was not authorized to sell Cisco in the United Kingdom, but Westcon's Cisco authorization will enable it to better serve Landis' U.K. customers, Smith said.

Landis also has existing relationships with 3Com, Computer Associates International, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Novell, Oracle and Sun Microsystems.

Over the next few weeks, Westcon will work out the details of the acquisition, Smith said, cautiously declining to offer any integration plans for the two companies. No details were available regarding executive teams, employees or responsibilities.

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