Paolo Del Nibletto: Metafore getting squeezed before merger

By Paolo Del Nibletto

On the surface, the Metafore and Microserv merger lookslike a game of musical chairs at Hartco.

But this move means added pressure for the topsolution providers in Canada such as Softchoice, Compugen, Insight Canada, CCSICompucom and Xwave. Keep in mind that all of the top five solution providershave added through acquisition to create some super companies.

Metafore is thelast of the $200 million solution providers Canada. They rank No. 7 on thisyear’s CDN Top 100 Solution Providers list. In 2008, Metafore cracked the top 5 so a case can be made thatthey're either slipping or being overtaking by others such as CDW Canada andCCSI. Coming up from behind Metafore are Acrodex and ONX; each of which has grown revenues substantially since 2008.

Metafore looked like they were getting squeezed by thetop solution providers and that second tier group that do $150 million inbusiness per year. By merging a $200 million solution provider withMicroserv, a $150 million business you intend to get a $350 to $400 millionpowerhouse that can now compete with Softchoice and Compugen.

Company officials say these two business arecomplimentary, but that remains to be seen. Microserv is predominantly a Quebec-area solutionprovider but Metafore, even though their leadership is based out West, are anation-wide reseller.They'll have strength in numbers with more than 1,000 IT certifiedprofessionals. That's quite the army out there in the market place.

The only thing that doesn't make sense to me isspreading out the decision making in three parts. Bryant Jackson will now be the vice-president and general manager incharge of Western Canada. David Kelly takes care of Central Canada and MichelLacasse will handle Eastern Canada.

This only tells the market that there really isn’t anymerger or that it is a merger in name only. Jackson should be the CEO of thisnewly formed company or Hartco’s Patrick Waid will have to explain tocustomers, vendors and rest of the market what is going on. It will be hard forthis newly merged company to have a single vision for the marketplace.Customers may look at it as three regional companies instead of a bignationwide reseller.

One quick hitbefore I go. Former HP Canada channel executive Jody Zedor has landed aposition at Blue Range, part of the ITX group of companies. CDN wishes him well.

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