Presidio's Solarcom Acquisition Forms New Mega-VAR

The new company, Presidio Networked Solutions, is an $800 million-plus solution provider with related businesses including finance, buying and selling of used IT equipment, and disaster recovery hosting.

With the Solarcom buy, Presidio becomes one of the nation's biggest Cisco partners as well as a storage powerhouse for vendor partners like EMC and Network Appliance.

The acquisition is the latest in a frenzy of mergers and acquisitions that are consolidating the channel into fewer but larger solution providers.

For instance, last October, San Francisco-based FusionStorm acquired Jeskell to create a $400 million solution provider that has major partnerships with Sun Microsystems and IBM. FusionStorm later acquired three other VARs and aims to acquire more.

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Solarcom joins a list of other solution providers recently acquired under the umbrella organization of Integrated Solutions. Integrated Solutions, which was recently renamed Presidio, was formed by investors including Columbia Capital, an Alexandria, Va.-based venture capital firm specializing in the communications and IT industries.

Presidio is headed by Chairman and CEO Joel Schleicher, who was also chairman and CEO at Integrated Solutions. Schleicher previously was chairman and CEO of Interpath Communications before its acquisition of USinternetworking, and from 1989 to 1995 he was COO and a board member at Nextel Communications.

Joining Schleicher on the Presidio executive team is Kay Kienast, who previously served as marketing general manager for commercial segments at CDW.

Integrated Solutions has in the past year or so made a number of solution provider acquisitions, according to information on the Columbia Capital Web site. Included in the list of acquisitions are Ficomp, Presidio, Networked Information Systems and Southland.

With the acquisition of Solarcom, Presidio now has three subsidiaries. The main subsidiary, Presidio Networked Solutions, includes the solution provider business of Solarcom, Presidio, NIS and Ficomp. In 2005, Solarcom had revenue of $315 million, Presidio $216 million, NIS $142 million and Ficomp $71 million, according to the VAR 500 listing by VARBusiness, a sister publication of CRN.

The second subsidiary is Presidio's finance and leasing arm, Solarcom Capital, which was acquired as part of the Solarcom deal. The third is Atlantix Global, a purchaser, refurbisher and reseller of used IT equipment, which also came from Solarcom. Its business includes systems from Sun, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Cisco.

Also being kept under its own name is Solarcom's disaster recovery and hosting business, Comlanta.

The pre-Solarcom Presidio's business focused mainly on the federal government, while other parts of the company -- including Solarcom -- focused on the commercial space, giving the new Presidio a wide range of customers.

In terms of technology, the common tie between Presidio, Solarcom and the other acquired companies was Cisco, according to a source close to Presidio. The acquisition of Solarcom creates what may be Cisco's largest solution provider, the source said.

Storage, especially EMC and NetApp, will also be a major focus of the combined company, the source said. Other key partners include IBM, Sun Microsystems and HP.

Presidio actually acquired Solarcom in October, and the Solarcom name, except for Solarcom Capital, was officially changed a couple weeks ago.

Presidio executives declined to comment on the acquisition. However, calls to Solarcom's main phone line were greeted with the line, "Thank you for calling Presidio Solutions."

So far, Presidio has managed to keep the acquisition quiet, a fact that's sometimes frustrating to employees who want to take advantage of the larger Presidio organization to make it easier to work with clients, the source said.

"We're all chomping at the bit," the source said. "We have a lot of things we want to do, a lot of business we want to do."