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Ingram Micro Is Target Of $7B Bid By Platinum Equity: Report

The private equity powerhouse is in ‘advanced talks’ to buy the Irvine, Calif. based IT distributor, according to a Bloomberg report.

Ingram Micro – which is owned by debt-ridden Chinese air carrier HNA Group- is a target of a $7 billion bid by Platinum Equity, according to a Bloomberg report.

The Los Angeles, Calif.-headquartered private equity player, which has completed 250 acquisitions, is in “advanced talks” to buy the Irvine, Calif. based IT distributor, Bloomberg said.

Ingram Micro had no comment.

“We don’t comment on rumors and/or speculation,” Damon Wright, vice president of corporate communications for Ingram Micro, said in an email to CRN.

HNA did not return an email request for comment.

HNA has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic as its core air transport business was choked by local and international travel restrictions. But even before the onset of COVID-19 related headwinds, the company was mired in debt which it had used to fuel a massive merger and acquisition surge for the past several years.

In April, HNA posted to Chinese social media that it had “reached the point of life and death” as the pandemic ravaged its businesses.

“This is a big test for all HNA employees. Now HNA has reached the point of life and death,” it wrote in an unsigned letter posted to its official Chinese social media account that was translated by the Financial Times.

Around the same time, talk of possible Chinese nationalization of HNA also made the rounds, which pushed Ingram Micro CEO Alain Monie to issue a letter that clarified that the tech distributor was “ring-fenced” from its parent company and would remain operationally independent no matter what happened with HNA.

Ingram Micro TrustXAlliance board member Mark Essayian, president of KME Systems, an MSP based in Lake Forest, Calif. said he would love to see the company return to US ownership, and possibly even see it taken public again. HNA took Ingram Micro private following the 2016 deal, removing it from the NYSE where it had traded since November 1996.

“I think Platinum has a golden opportunity to acquire Ingram Micro,” Essayian said. “They have strong leadership, the management ability and I believe it’s politically expedient. I could see Ingram going public again. Platinum knows Ingram’s market unlike HNA.”

Rumors that HNA is considering selling Ingram Micro have come and gone for months, with potential buyers reportedly expressing interest before walking away. Apollo Global Capital, a large private equity firm with numerous tech assets, reportedly entertained making an offer in late 2018, however executives later told CRN the company was too leveraged to make a deal profitable. Apollo later bought Ingram Micro rival Tech Data.

In August 2019, RRJ Capital was then talked about as a potential buyer. That deal would have seen the distributor sold for $4 billion. HNA bought Ingram Micro for $6 billion in 2016. The RRJ deal also did not materialize.

Analyst firm Raymond James & Associates speculated in January 2018 that rival distributor Synnex was interested in purchasing Ingram Micro after trading in Tianjin Tianhai Investment Company was halted. However, Ingram Micro moved quickly to deny that the halt in trading was related to any plans to sell the distributor.

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