Tech Data's blockbuster purchase by private equity (PE) firm Apollo Global Management for $5.4bn confirmed recent rumours that had been swirling around the industry since last month.
The publicly-listed distie will move into Apollo's private ownership when the deal closes in the first half of calendar 2020.
Tech Data CEO Rich Hume said the move will allow the distributor to accelerate its go-to-market strategy and provide its channel partners with "unparalleled" reach, efficiency and expertise.
Hayley Roberts, chief exec at VAD Distology, agreed with this assessment, stating that PE ownership could give Tech Data the agility it needs. She added that it also gives her optimism about the distribution landscape as a whole.
"They need to go up a gear and need to take bigger risks and that's harder when you're working at low margins," she said.
"[They've] got to be more agile and I think this acquisition will give them that ability and help them move into new markets, especially when we look at cloud developments. They could go into emerging technologies or build their own SOC.
She added: "Investment by a large PE company gives me confidence as a distributor that they see there's a future in distribution.
"I also hope that there will be an organisational change - It could be a chance to shake up the old boy's network."
Last year Apollo was rumoured to be in talks to buy Tech Data's arch-rival Ingram Micro for a hefty $7.5bn.
Alex Tatham, MD at Westcoast, mused on why nothing came of the Ingram purchase but said that this is a good move for Tech Data's shareholders and that it will be "interesting" to see the effect private ownership might have on the broadliner's existing strategy.
"Why didn't they buy Ingram - maybe it was more expensive?" he pondered.
"I think if the private equity guys have decided they can make some money - and having spent $5.4bn - it will be interesting to see what that does to them. That might give Tech Data some internal focus for a bit longer."
Tatham doesn't believe the Tech Data purchase means this trend will extend to distribution.
"I think Apollo has good traction in focusing on technology, so they understand the technology market very well. I don't see how all of a sudden PE is going to be scooping up a whole bunch of distributors out there," he said.
"I think this is a fairly major investment and there weren't many other takers for Ingram and who knows who'd have bought Tech Data if not Apollo?"
However, Stuart Fenton, CEO of Microsoft Dynamics partner QuantiQ disagrees, adding that the capabilities offered by distributors are an attractive prospect for PE investment.
"It's interesting that larger resellers have seen their values increase dramatically as the market recognises the value of the model - now the same is true of distributors," he elaborated.
"Twenty years ago a distie was a warehouse and a bank (line of credit); today, they are operationally efficient with advisory and technical skills in abundance, thus they can support all sorts of resellers with complexities that were previously only in the hands of a few specialists.
"Tech Data has always had strong leadership and their value makes sense. I assume Westcoast would be a very interesting target for PE in future - whether Joe Hemani would sell it is another thing altogether!"
The move didn't seem to phase some resellers, who took a "business-as-usual" approach to the news.
James Hardy, MD at CCS Media said that he doesn't "envisage any material changes to our working relationship with Tech Data".
While Neil Murphy, managing director at Bytes Technology Group, stated that the move "seems a great deal for Tech Data shareholders and hopefully this will also benefit their staff and customers like us too."
Some say performance, others say money but it may be systems and processes that carry the day
At Juniper Network's EMEA conference, partners told CPI what they make of Juniper's bid to take on Cisco in the enterprise space using its MIST acquisition
View all of the photos from last week's Channel Innovation Awards in New York
But Q3 is still the second best quarter of server shipments on record, logging 'near historic highs', despite a slump from Q3 2018