PHOENIX, ARIZ. — The topic of conversation at Tech Data’s first-ever Security Enforce event here this week is cybersecurity, but the elephant in the room is the announcement just a day before the start of the event that Tech Data would be acquired by Apollo Global Management and would go private as a result.
Marty Bauerlein, the company’s senior vice president of sales for North America, addressed that elephant directly, saying that Tech Data going private will allow it to think more strategically in the instead of having to act against longer-term interests to pop a quarterly number and please shareholders.
“I’m really excited to be off the 90-day shot clock,” Bauerlein told attendees. “It’s very difficult to invest in the long term when everyone wants return on investment capital right away.”
Once the deal closes, expected in the first quarter of 2020, the distributor will have more resources to invest “in our people, and in our portfolio of products,” particularly accelerating the company’s highest-growth areas — fields that include security, cloud computing, and Internet of Things.
While going private will mean Tech Data doesn’t have to report its numbers nearly as publicly as before, Bauerlein said there’s one big number that remains a firm goal.
“We want to be a $50 billion company really soon,” he said.
As for the company’s 2019 fiscal year, which closed in January of this year, the distributor currently sits at about $37 billion in revenues. To make that big a jump as soon as possible, Bauerlein said, it’s focusing on high-growth areas, both the aforementioned emerging technology opportunities and a renewed interest in small business and the mid-market.
Next-generation technologies, he said, are “growing at 5x” the rate of the traditional data centre infrastructure business, and while the enterprise is seeing “modest growth” in enterprise, he reported “massive growth” in the SMB space — good news for the long tail of SMB-focused solutions providers to whom the distributor sells.
Structurally, he said, the distributor is focused on driving cost out of its business operations, and investing the saved operational dollars into those high-growth innovation areas to accelerate them further.
So while partners can expect greater investment in long-term bets, Bauerlein stressed that in terms of their day-to-day experience working with the distributor, solution providers should expect “no disruptions” or changes in terms of account management, structure or resources.
“Since 1994, the customer has been the centre of everything we do,” he said.