What’s the key message that the GTDC is bringing to the distribution community this year?
Well, it’s really not just for the distribution community. It’s really to the broader ecosystem out there, which includes the vendor community for sure, but also includes what I would refer to as the influencers in the marketplace, and then of course the distributors. The key message really ties back to our theme of ‘investing in tomorrow, today.’ And the fact of the matter is that the distributors in the GTDC have been making significant investments for quite some time in all areas to bring digital transformation to bear in the industry more effectively and more quickly. So the key theme is the investment that’s being made in a number of different areas as we watch how this overall industry transforms itself.
Let’s talk about the consolidation we’ve seen in distribution. Ingram Micro this year was acquired by Platinum Equity, and then we saw the birth of TD Synnex from the merger of Tech Data and Synnex. What’s going on?
There have been some smaller acquisitions that have happened. But there’s also been an IPO that was pretty significant, that of Exclusive Networks probably about two months ago. That was significant. And I think what all of it is leading toward is there are people around the industry with investment dollars who are usually pretty astute in terms of how they look at these things. I kind of refer to it as ‘smart money’ because it typically is. They’re realizing that there’s a ton of value existing today, but also see the opportunity to create more value through the work distributors are doing and what they’re providing in the marketplace.
The changes we’re seeing in the marketplace, the transformation we’re seeing, these require the type of support and services that distribution has traditionally provided. And they’ve always provided them in the physical world. ... What I think has become pretty obvious now is people are thinking about it from a different standpoint and realizing that as we continue on this digital transformation path, the services and support and the evolution that the distributors are making in their businesses are really going to provide the potential for some real long-term value appreciation in their businesses. And I think that’s what’s attractive to big private equity firms like Platinum Equity, or like Apollo, which is still a major investor in TD Synnex. And also to the public markets in the form of an IPO.