VAR500 Blockbuster: Presidio To Acquire BlueWater Communications

Presidio Networked Solutions will acquire BlueWater Communications Group, CRN has learned, marking the merger of two of the most powerful communications and data center-focused solution providers in the country.

Reached by CRN late Tuesday, Bob Cagnazzi, BlueWater's CEO, confirmed initial details of the deal, including that he will become CEO of Presidio following the close of the acquisition. Presidio has not had a CEO since the departure of former chief executive Joel Schleicher in 2011.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," said Cagnazzi in a brief interview with CRN. "We felt we needed to be better positioned over the next few years to build managed and cloud-based services, and we needed the type of size and scope they have to fast-track those investments. It's been very well received by our employees and clients."

The acquisition will be formally announced Wednesday, Cagnazzi said. Terms will not be disclosed.

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Presidio, a roughly $2 billion solution provider based in Greenbelt, Md. and ranked No. 23 on CRN's 2011 VAR 500 listing, has been a serial acquirer of fellow solution providers in recent years. Among its major deals, Presidio acquired former VAR500 power INX in November 2011. Previously, Presidio had bought another former VAR500 solution provider, Coleman Technologies, in January 2010, and also acquired Ficomp, Networked Information Systems (NIS) and Solarcom in years prior.

New York-based BlueWater, a roughly $250 million solution provider that ranked No. 1 on CRN's 2009 list of the fastest-growing solution providers in the country, focuses on unified communications, video, cloud computing, data center technologies, wireless networking and other segments. Like Presidio, it also sports a thriving managed services practice.

Among other specialties, both Presidio and BlueWater are top Cisco Gold partners, and both hold Cisco's Cloud Builder designation for expertise in selling Cisco network-centric, end-to-end cloud solutions for customers and cloud services providers.

NEXT: Management Team To Stay Intact

Cagnazzi will become CEO of Presidio but other changes to the existing BlueWater and Presidio teams aren't expected, he said.

One of the things that impressed him about Presidio, Cagnazzi added, was that it has retained much of its original management team and also the former top executives of the many solution providers it has acquired.

Ben Patz, former CEO of Coleman and current Presidio COO; Rudy Casasola, president of the original Presidio and currently Division President, Presidio Mid-Atlantic; Robert Murphy, former president of NIS and currently Division President, Presidio Northeast; Dave Hart, Presidio CTO and a former senior executive at NIS; and Mark Hilz, former CEO of INX, are among many such executives still with the company, he noted.

"You have all these teams still in place, still driving business and still providing value to the clients," he said. "This is something that Presidio has done really well throughout the years."

Cagnazzi said BlueWater had been approached by potential M&A suitors on a number of occasions recent years, but Presidio was an option that presented "a lot of strategic alignment." Talks began between the two solution providers several months ago, he said.

Representatives for Presidio were not immediately available for comment late Tuesday.