Schneider To Keep APC Brand; APC To Hike VAR Compensation

$6.1 billion acquisition of American Power Conversion

"They are going to keep the the American Power Conversion name and brand logo," said Kevin Nusky, worldwide director of channel programs and sales at West Kingston, R.I.-based APC.

Schneider Electric unveiled its APC takeover bid on Oct. 30. In a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, APC said France-based Schneider was one of three companies that courted it immediately after its CEO, Roger Dowdell, announced his pending retirement. After a bidding process that involved two other unnamed companies, Schneider won APC's agreement on the $31-per-share, all-cash deal, which is expected to close by next year.

Meanwhile, on the channel front, APC is set to boost its partner compensation. Plans call for the power and cooling solutions vendor to increase, by 2 percent or 3 percent, compensation for deals that VARs bring to the company via its "deal detection" program. APC also plans to make any deals of $20,000 or more eligible for the program. Previously, only deals involving the vendor's InfraStruXure line of enterprise solutions were eligible.

APC partners were upbeat about the company's merger with Schneider Electric.

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"We've already had conversations with the local [APC] folks and have been told it's going to be even better for us," said Peter Anderson, CEO of Bayshore Technologies, a Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider. "We're really excited."

Anderson lauded APC's deal-registration model and other partner incentives, noting that they put his company -- which has more engineers than sales staff -- on a more level playing field with competitors. "The registration process is vitally important for us," he said.

Nusky said APC's mature channel program was a pillar of the deal for Schneider Electric and suggested that bodes well for solution providers

Bayshore Technologies' Anderson agreed. "I think the relationship and what Schneider is saying, and what local [APC] reps are saying that there is going to be a bigger emphasis on the channel, is all very positive," he said.

Next Monday, APC plans to ship preconfigured InfraStruXure power, cooling and management solutions for wiring closets and small IT rooms in small and midsize businesses, branch offices and similar environments. The move would extend the InfraStruXure brand further into midsize data center rooms and wiring closets, a big growth area in the enterprise.

The systems will be available in two-post, four-post and full-rack enclosure options and with UPSes of 1.5kVA to 16.0kVA, according to APC. They are preconfigured with APC's Rack Manager management device, which can track and link to a system's temperature and humidity levels through an IP address at the front of the rack.

APC estimates that small computer rooms and wiring closets are growing by 2 million kilowatts per year -- half of which is going to switches, like the kind that enable VoIP solutions.