Channel Veteran Peres To Drive M&A At Cisco Gold Partner As New Vice Chairman
Edison Peres, a former 14-year Cisco Systems veteran, is ready to drive M&A in his new role at Core BTS, a Cisco Gold partner, as vice chairman of the board of directors.
"There's no question that the notion of M&A is one of the elements of developing that good growth strategy for Core BTS," said Peres, most recently Cisco's senior vice president of cloud and managed services partners, in an interview with CRN.
"I definitely believe the M&A activity in this industry is going to continue at a very rapid pace as it has over the last number of years," said Peres. "Core is going to be a participant in that as they have been … so the evolution of growth through that strategy of acquisition is clearly a possibility."
Madison, Wis.-based Core BTS, which was created through the mergers of several smaller regional solution providers, is ranked No. 142 on the 2015 CRN Solution Provider 500 list and partners with Cisco, EMC, Citrix Systems, VMware and Microsoft. Private equity firm Founders Equity is the principal investor in Convergence Technologies, Core BTS' parent holding company.
Edison said he expects the rapid consolidation in the market to continue in the channel over the next several years due to the availability of private equity dollars.
"There's a lot of private equity money out there," he said. "They're the ones that are seeing the most M&A action because they're basically coming in, buying up these companies and they create an infusion of capital into these companies and they bring in a more strategic view of value creation."
Peres said capital from private equity firms helps move solution providers into the "next level of their journey," including the shift from selling products to a more strategic service provider role.
"Their value is moving away from just being a hardware player to be more of a services, managed services cloud player," said Edison. "You're going to start to see the interest of private equity firms as well as venture capital firms be much higher, and you'll probably start to see some public companies [being acquired] in the next few years as well."
Peres helped lead a channel sales explosion at Cisco that made him one of the industry's most respected and well-liked channel leaders.
For more than a decade, he served as Cisco's senior vice president of worldwide channels. In 2013, he was named CRN's Top Channel Sales Leader of the year before taking on the role as senior vice president of cloud and managed services in 2014. He left the San Jose, Calif.-based networking giant last year and officially retired.
Although Peres says he still retired, he has taken on several part-time board and advisory roles at Global Knowledge as well as at startups Extenua and Layer Logic.
"When I retired from Cisco it was really an opportunity to change up the game a little bit and use my assets and intelligence to help in a broader way," said Peres.
The CEO of a top Cisco enterprise partner, who did not want to be identified, said he expects Peres to play a key role evaluating Cisco partners as acquisition candidates for Core BTS. ’One of the things Edison did at Cisco was act as a matchmaker of sorts for partners,’ said the CEO. ’I am sure he is going to use his Cisco contact experience and knowledge to help Core BTS expand and roll up some Cisco partners.’
The problem with most mergers and acquisitions, however, is the difficulty in merging managed services provider operations and retaining top technical talent, said the CEO. "These are very fragile businesses," he said. "If a principal and some of the key people leave, the business falls apart."