6 Massive M&A Deals Reshaping The Channel: March 2016

Big Blue Buys Big

IBM captured much of the channel M&A buzz over the past month, buying not one, but two solution providers specializing in supporting customer relationship management (CRM) vendors.

Unified communication capabilities were also in high demand, with two of the companies acquired in March specializing in that area.

Three of the companies purchased in March are in the South, two are in the Northeast and one is based abroad. Three of the six appear in the top 250 of the CRN 2015 Solution Provider 500. Overall, the companies acquired last month employ roughly a combined 28,850 people.

Acquisitions are ranked based on the total number of employees at the firm being acquired.

6. Logicalis

Company acquired: Via Group

Head count: 21 employees

Annual revenue: $7.17 million

Purchase price: Not disclosed

Date of announcement: March 2

Summary: Logicalis purchased a Microsoft Gold partner specializing in unified communications and voice from its parent company in an effort to turbocharge its education and health-care practices.

The New York-based company, No. 27 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, said its acquisition of The Woodlands, Texas-based Via Group will provide greater flexibility in supporting unified communications solutions across on-premise, hosted and hybrid environments.

Combining Via's collaboration expertise with Logicalis' managed serviced capabilities will enable the company to deliver hosted, subscription-based solutions to clients looking to completely outsource responsibility for installing and managing business communications infrastructure, according to the companies.

5. IBM

Company acquired: Optevia

Head count: 51-200 employees

Annual revenue: Not disclosed

Purchase price: Not disclosed

Date of announcement: March 18

Summary: Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, whose global services division is No. 1 on the CRN SP 500, acquired Kent, England-based solution provider Optevia in an attempt to expand its services capabilities around cloud technology partnerships with vendors, the company said.

Optevia specializes in providing Microsoft Dynamics to government entities, and IBM said its purchase is intended to enable IBM to improve its already successful Microsoft CRM solutions practice in Europe, providing it with an "in" to the public sector it has previously not been able to crack.

4. Ingram Micro

Company acquired: NetXUSA

Head count: 100 employees

Annual revenue: $125 million

Purchase price: Not disclosed

Date of announcement: March 17

Summary: Irvine, Calif.-based Ingram Micro aimed to boost its portfolio of IP communications products and strengthen its UCC business by acquiring Greenville, S.C.-based distributor NetXUSA.

Ingram has been growing its communications and collaborations portfolio in recent years after unifying its solutions under director of UCC Bob Gutschenritter in 2014.

With this acquisition, Ingram will incorporate NetXUSA's employees into its Advanced Solutions group. The distributor will also gain immediate access to a new telecom service and provider set, giving Ingram the ability to leverage relationships throughout NetXUSA's global organization.

3. Sirius Computer Solutions

Company acquired: Force 3

Head count: 170 employees

Annual revenue: $260 million

Purchase price: Not disclosed

Date of announcement: March 24

Summary: San Antonio-based Sirius, No. 28 on the CRN SP 500, tapped into its private equity backing to purchase a U.S. government solution provider dedicated to next-generation network security technology.

Acquiring Crofton, Md.-based Force 3, No. 79 on the SP 500, is intended to enable Sirius to better serve customers in the Mid-Atlantic region and tap into additional contract vehicles for public sector clients, according to the Sirius.

And marrying Sirius' expertise in the data center with Force 3's mastery of the networking and security spaces is meant to help the combined company deliver stronger end-to-end solutions, according to the companies.

Force 3 will continue operating as a separate legal entity and maintain the Force 3 name.

2. IBM

Company acquired: Bluewolf

Head count: 500 employees

Annual revenue: $80.1 million

Purchase price: $200 million

Date of announcement: March 31

Summary: Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM purchased Salesforce.com solution provider superstar Bluewolf, No. 240 on the CRN SP 500, to better drive the market around cloud consulting services, IBM said.

The addition of New York-based Bluewolf’s capabilities are expected to help IBM capture a piece of the multibillion-dollar midmarket and enterprise business in the Salesforce.com professional services industry.

For Bluewolf, working with IBM will help propel the company's solutions to a more global scale, according to the company. As part of the acquisition, Bluewolf will be folded into IBM's Interactive Experience (iX) practice, which offers hybrid consultancy and digital agency solutions.

The purchase price was reported in Re/code, while Bluewolf's annual revenue is from the Inc. 5000 list.

1. NTT Data

Company acquired: Perot Systems

Head count: 28,000 employees

Annual revenue: $8.4 billion

Purchase price: $3.05 billion

Date of announcement: March 28

Summary: Tokyo-based NTT Data acquired Round Rock, Texas-based Perot Systems to expand its brand and leadership position globally, particularly around vertical industries, infrastructure services, cloud services, application services and business process outsourcing (BPO), according to the company.

Acquiring Perot Systems -- part of Dell Services, No. 9 on the CRN SP 500 -- is intended to provide NTT Data’s clients with expanded BPO capabilities around health care and insurance, data centers in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, and resources around next-generation application and business process services.

Perot will continue to operate under the leadership of Suresh Vaswani, president of Dell Services, until the transaction closes.