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Avnet extends cash offer to acquire Premier Farnell

Multispecialist Avnet has reached agreement with the Board of Directors of Premier Farnell plc (“Premier Farnell”), the maker of the Raspberry Pi, on the terms of a recommended offer for Premier Farnell by Avnet or one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries. The all-cash offer of €2.24 per share represents an equity value of approximately €836m and a 12.1% premium over the previous offer of €2 per share by Datwyler Technical Components UK. Headquartered in Leeds, United Kingdom, Premier Farnell is a global distributor of electronic components and related products delivering engineering solutions to the electronic system design community utilizing multi-channel sales and marketing resources. The transaction is intended to be effected by means of an English court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement and is subject to satisfaction or waiver of several conditions, including the approval of Premier Farnell shareholders and the court, receipt of regulatory approvals in the European Union, United States and Israel, and other customary conditions.

"This acquisition will significantly strengthen Avnet's digital footprint worldwide. The convergence of Premier Farnell's innovative online services with Avnet's world class supply chain will create customer service unparalleled in the industry", said William Amelio, interim Chief Executive Officer of Avnet. "The talented team of people at Premier Farnell will allow Avnet to enhance our customer experience and accelerate our global growth."

Upon completion, the transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings even before considering positive effects from any synergies realized, and supports Avnet's return on capital goals.

"Premier Farnell will bolster our strategy to provide a differentiated digital experience from product ideation through its lifecycle. Premier Farnell's customers gain access to an extensive suite of supply chain services allowing them to ramp new products to production volumes. Our customers will be able to do more technical research online through the services provided by Premier Farnell", said Gerry Fay, President of Avnet's Electronics Marketing, Worldwide "Bringing these two companies together allows us to capture market share earlier in the design process. In addition to deepening our customer base, this acquisition will enhance our go-to-market strategy as we target the industrial Internet of Things with edge-to-enterprise products and solutions."

Avnet names Bill Amelio CEO

Multispecialist Avnet has appointed William (“Bill”) J. Amelio as Chief Executive Officer of the company. Mr. Amelio has been acting in the role of interim CEO of Avnet since July 11, 2016. Having spent most of his career in senior roles managing global technology enterprises and publicly traded companies, he brings more than 35 years of management and industry experience to Avnet.

William Schumann, Chairman of the Board said, "The board, under the leadership of the Corporate Governance Committee and with a nationally recognized executive search firm, conducted a review of both internal and external candidates that could be available and concluded that Bill is the best candidate for the CEO position. Avnet is fortunate to have someone of Bill’s character and experience. He brings energy and focus to the business, and the board unanimously agreed that making him the permanent CEO was in the best interest of our customers, employees and shareholders.

Commenting on his new role, Mr. Amelio said, “For me, Avnet is all about passion and possibilities. We have an experienced management team and an engaged workforce comprised of talented employees who are dedicated to serving our customers, suppliers and partners. By better aligning these resources with our competitive solutions specialist, embedded and supply chain strengths, Avnet will undoubtedly be positioned to achieve profitable growth for our shareholders and deliver upon the ever growing market potential in our industry.

Mr. Amelio was the president, chief executive officer and a director of CHC Group Ltd., an international oil-field services company, from 2010 to 2015. From 2005 to 2009, he served as president and chief executive officer of Lenovo, a multinational Fortune 500 technology company, and was previously a regional senior vice president and president, Asia-Pacific and Japan for Dell Inc. He began his career with the Microelectronics Technology Division of IBM in 1979 and later became the General Manager Worldwide Operations of the Personal Computer Division. Mr. Amelio also previously served on the Board of Directors of National Semiconductor. He has a chemical engineering degree from Lehigh University and a master’s degree in management from Stanford University.

Exclusive interview of Patrick Zammit, Senior Vice President and Global President at Avnet Technology Solutions

ITdistri recently met Patrick Zammit, Global President for Avnet Technology Solutions, and interviewed him on the impact in the EMEA region of the latest acquisitions and announcements of the distributor.

ITdistri: your are launching only now your cloud marketplace, behind your competitors. Why only now?

Patrick Zammit: the most important is not to go fast, but to be steady to win the race. We have observed the evolution of the market, to answer perfectly to the user needs. We have determined that the hybrid cloud (including both private and public parts) was the future. Historically, we are very strong on the private cloud infrastructure market. So we just needed to build our application platform, in order to offer ways for our customers to optimize their information systems, thanks to public cloud services. By starting late, we have been able to choose the best which has been done on the market, and to add our own tools, especially regarding invoicing. We want our customers to have an absolute control on their cloud usage, so they may decide when and how to switch to a private cloud platform if necessary while keeping a large flexibility on their public cloud subscriptions. According to our studies, this is a differentiating factor in sales points. Regarding vendors, we have signed worldwide distribution partnerships with major companies such as IBM (Softlayer) and Amazon (AWS). Our platform, which is also available in a white-label version, has of course been built to be able to include local vendors. This will allow our European offices to sign local distribution deals, whether for IaaS, SaaS or even, who knows, cloud-based enterprise management solutions. We will also offer to our partners tools that allow them to define precisely what they can virtualise, and what can be placed in private or public clouds. These tools will allow them to optimise the flexibility they need, according to their budgets.

ITdistri: other major distributors have decided, for cost cutting reasons, to centralise some backoffice functions in Eastern Europe, like Westcon in Romania or Ingram in Bulgaria. Does Avnet have similar plans?

Patrick Zammit: this is not a major issue for us, for the time being. We think that such centralisation projects lead to an important loss of competences. Nevertheless, we do have already centralised some functions. Sales management for France, Italy and Eastern Europe is based in Poland, while Germany and the United Kingdom manage their own sales locally. All financial flows with vendors (purchase and stocks) are managed from Belgium, as well as logistics, cashflow, taxes and our pan-European integration centre. We currently do not have plans for more reorganisations than that. At Avnet, we believe more in our Competence Centres. To day, we already have two of them: a Security Competence Centre in the Netherlands, and an Information Management / Business Analytics Competence Centre in Germany. A third Competence Centre is already planned, for cloud issues. Their task is to define solution-oriented offers, as well as their implementation. The centralisation ends at the definition of a core offer and program, which is eventually adapted locally by each Avnet country team.

ITdistri: what about Orchestra’s acquisition?

Patrick Zammit: we have acquired Orchestra to become a major EMC distributor in Germany. Orchestra has developed a predictive tool which allows resellers to intervene before the servers of their customers either fail or reach saturation. This service is managed from Croatia. It will be expanded, in order to be used in all the European countries where we are official EMC distributors. The former Orchestra Croatian office, which is not to be moved to Germany, will ultimately become our EMC Competence Centre.

ITdistri: even if you do no work on it anymore, can you explain us the reason of the Silica-Memec merging?

Patrick Zammit: I know very well this subject, as I have long worked for Avnet electronic business. The idea behind this reorganisation is fairly simple: Memec is focussed on niche products, while Silica is specialised in broad-usage electronic components. By merging the two structures, we allow Memec vendors to reach a much broader customer base than previously.

ITdistri: after having acquired the EEC business of struggling Russian multi-specialist RRC, Ingram has very recently been acquired by a Chinese company. Anything planned, on your side?

Patrick Zammit: we will of course acquire more companies. But we are very mindful about compliance issues, to keep in line with the American legislation. So, anything new regarding this will be announced in due time…

Avnet Abacus expands power, protection and interconnect product range with Bel

Semiconductor specialist Avnet Abacus has extended its portfolio with the introduction of product lines from several divisions of Bel, a specialist in the design and manufacture of power, protection and interconnect devices. The Bel portfolio now carried by Avnet Abacus comprises: the power conversion range from Bel Power Solutions; the Stewart Connector Ethernet connectivity range, including the RJ point five connector system; circuit protection products from Bel Fuse; and Bel Magnetics' solutions, including MagJack connectors with integrated magnetics, LAN magnetics modules for high-speed networking and the TRP division products. The addition of these lines ensues from the acquisition of the Power Solutions business of Power-One by Bel Fuse Inc. last year. Avnet Abacus is an established distribution partner for the Power-One brand in Europe and Avnet has long been a major distributor of the Bel portfolio in the Americas.

"The support of experienced and effectual distribution partners is an essential component in ensuring we compete effectively in the global market," said Andy Jones, European distribution manager at Bel. "By working with Avnet Abacus in Europe we are not only building upon our existing relationship with Avnet, but we are also tapping into the highly competent local resources and expertise required to take our business forward."

Alan Jermyn, vice president of marketing, Avnet Abacus, said, "Access to the latest products and technology is key to every electronics design engineer, and to service this successfully we must partner with the very best suppliers in the industry. The product lines we have added from Bel provide reliable, high-performance solutions to our European customer base, and extend our global offering." Bel products are available through Avnet Abacus offices in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Westcon opens up about Romanian outsourcing move

Distributor Westcon has revealed a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm with operations in Romania will take charge of some of its EMEA finance and operations functions. Parent company Datatec announced yesterday that 300 of Westcon's 1,900 EMEA staff would be affected by a "BPO transformation" of its EMEA operations.

Westcon senior vice president David Grant revealed a phased migration of the functions in question will occur between now and mid-2017 and insisted service levels for resellers would not be affected. Although Grant was not in a position to divulge Westcon's BPO partner, he described it as a global outfit "in the top-right of the Gartner Magic Quadrant". "We separated our activities into those we see as transactional and those that add value to the customers and vendors," he said. "Anything that is very transactional we have decided to outsource to another organisation as it gives us scale and efficiency."

The outsourcing project will run alongside Westcon's impending European implementation of a global SAP project, Grant said, adding that affected employees may be offered other roles in the organisation. "It is not a case of everything changing on day one," he said. "Where roles are affected we will give people significant advance notice, as it's the responsible thing to do. We are growing, and while some transactional roles will be eliminated from the business, some new opportunities will be created so we will take as much time as we can to retrain and redeploy staff where it is appropriate to us."

Westcon, which operates through the Comstor and Westcon brands, has order-processing staff in 42 countries in EMEA, Grant said, adding that any staff whose roles are displaced will be offered the choice of staying on to help with the migration. Employee and other fees associated with the migration will cost parent Datatec about €11.5m in its current financial year.

Rival distributor Ingram Micro centralised more EMEA back-office functions to Sofia in Bulgaria last year.

Grant said it made more sense for Cisco, Avaya, Polycom, Juniper and Check Point partner Westcon to partner with a BPO outfit with knowledge of the region. "We have chosen an organisation where it is their core business to provide business processes and support," he said. "We are not experts in sourcing a facility or finding local language specialists and training them on what we do."

Romania, which is where the BPO firm in question will carry out Westcon's transactional work, was ranked fourth in an index of the top global BPO locations this year carried out by Cushman & Wakefield, behind Vietnam, the Philippines and Bulgaria. Grant emphasised that Westcon's "core value-add" will be retained in-house and claimed that neither customer service levels nor its ability to execute would be affected by the move. "Our top 10 vendor partners have all offered to make sure there is good knowledge transfer and are helping to train our BPO staff," he said. "If you think about it, most of our major vendors have some part of their organisation that is outsourced so are completely familiar with what support they can give us."

Graeme Watt, EMEA president at rival distributor Avnet Technology Solutions, confirmed his company has also made some steps towards centralising transactional functions, "but nothing like on the scale we are seeing with Westcon". "It is fair to say that everybody is looking to see how much of that non-technical, more run-rate, transactional operations they can centralise," he said. "We have been talking about it for a while and we will centralise functions and operations where we think it makes sense and keep things local where we think it makes sense." (source: Channelweb United Kingdom).


Avnet Abacus Polska

Avnet Abacus Polska
Plac Solny 16
PL-50-062 Wrocław
Phone : +48 (0)71 342 0599
Fax : +48 (0)71 342 2910
Website :
E-mail :


REGON : 011908001
VAT number : PL 526-12-77-542
Indirect turnover : 98%
Specialist : Semiconductors and electronic components
Main brands : Alps, FCI, Molex, TE Connectivity, Vishay
Clients : Associations, industrials, OEM, semi-distributors, specialized resellers, VAR