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D&H Co-Presidents On Standing Out Amid The Tech Data-Synnex Merger: ‘We Are Like Evolution Versus Revolution’

Joseph F. Kovar

‘When you have big mergers, a lot of times there are big revolutions. There’s a lot of major changes that have to occur. We like to have lots and lots of little tweaks, survey our customers monthly about what’s important to them, about how we can serve them better and lean in on service,’ says Dan Schwab who, along with his brother Michael, speak to CRN about the merger and a host of other topics.

Going forward, Ingram Micro, Tech Data-Synnex and D&H will all be privately owned. How significant is that?

Michael Schwab: The one thing that’s interesting in distribution: The return on invested capital normally doesn’t meet the expectations of the public market. But I think as of late, security is a top-of-mind conversation as is cloud and other solutions, so the landscape has changed a bit. So whether it is private equity or being public or, in our case, remaining private, it shows that there is an inherent value in distribution of IT technology. If you think about the work-from-home initiative that’s transpired, the remote learning initiatives, the remote health care and telehealth, and now as we go back to even more of hybrid work approach, IT infrastructure continues to be top of mind. So historically you could argue that distribution should be a private undertaking. I think in today’s environment, the market has dictated that [customers are] going to pay a premium, and that this is a good place to invest resources and see that return on invested capital.

Dan Schwab: We’re private. We’re owned by the employees. We’re a family business. We’ve had the same ownership for 100 years. In different cases, when private equity acquires a company, that’s often a means to an end because in five to seven years later they plan to sell it, take it public, do something different with it. I can’t speak specifically to this deal, but that’s the general practice of private equity and what they typically do. They want an exit strategy. We’re not looking for an exit strategy. We’re looking to help our partners win. It’s a different objective.

 
Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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