Master Agent Moves: Sandler Partners Boosts Connectivity, Cloud Services Portfolio Through Acquisition

Master agent Sandler Partners Monday scooped up fellow master agent X4 Solutions, with the combined company now being able to serve and support more than 4,500 solution provider partners across the West, Midwest, Northwest and Southwest.

The two companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but said that the new company will generate an estimated $65 million in cloud and telecom revenue this year.

Hermosa Beach, Calif.-based Sandler Partners believes that the acquisition of Romeoville, Ill.-based X4 will give its partners the resources to better support enterprise customers through stronger contracts with supplier partners, as well as a larger portfolio of connectivity and cloud services, according to Alan Sandler, founder and managing partner of Sandler Partners.

[Related: Master Agent Recovers Millions In Lost Commissions For Solution Provider Partners]

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The two companies only share about 3 percent of their partners, and partners will still be able to work with the company of their choice until the end of 2016. Sandler Partners has "absolutely no plans" to cut agent contracts and will support all X4 partners in addition to its own base of agent partners, Sandler said. Moreover, X4 partners will not be required to sign new contracts with Sandler Partners, but partners will be able to update their agreements if they choose.

"The most important thing to us is not to disrupt the employee and partner relationships at X4," Sandler told CRN. "There will be no immediate changes. X4 will operate as X4, a Sandler Partners Company, through 2016. We will work together to take the best practices from each company and, eventually, consolidate them under the Sandler Partners brand."

Sandler Partners also will continue its core focus on supporting small to midsize end customers, Sandler said. Sandler Partners currently works with more than 100 supplier partners, including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Juniper Networks, ShoreTel, RapidScale and Rackspace, as well as more than 3,400 telecom agent, VAR, and MSP sales partners.

The master agent plans to roll out more partner trainings and events and hopes that the acquisition will help to quickly build up its presence in the Midwest -- particularly in the Chicago area, Sandler said.

"We had very little presence in the Midwest and central U.S. This is a region where X4 is a leader," Sandler Partners said in a Q&A regarding the acquisition.

Single Path, a managed IT services provider based in Lombard, Ill., introduced the two master agents about 10 years ago because of their mutual focus on partner support and education.

Single Path, which partners with both companies, is looking forward to greater coverage in Illinois, as well as the ability to run deals through one master agent instead of two, said John Protass, partner at Single Path.

"For us, it's all about coverage," Protass said. "We have customers all over the country -- a significant amount in California and Chicago -- so it will be nice to have that first-class support from both of the companies wherever we are."

The deal between the two companies also will give partners access to vendors they wouldn't otherwise have interaction with, as well as the opportunity to sell more solutions, Protass said.

"X4 has a relationship with smaller, boutique vendors, and Sandler is so much bigger than X4. ... So they tend to deal with the big brands. X4 has connections to providers that Sandler agents probably haven't heard of or had access to," he said.

X4, founded in 2004, was a combination of three telecom businesses that came together with the goal of providing telecom consulting services. X4 currently partners with more than 70 telecom, data center and cloud service providers, as well as 1,200 solution provider partners. The master agent brought in $14 million in revenue in 2015.