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AppDirect Buys TBI, Vows to Protect Partner Relationships

In the meantime, dozens of layoffs have already taken place at TBI, with many occurring earlier this week.

James Anderson

February 1, 2023

12 Slides

AppDirect executives say their purchase of technology services distributor TBI creates the largest ecosystem in the tech advisor channel.

The B2B subscription commerce platform announced the acquisition of Chicago-based TBI on Wednesday. The deal unites one of the channel’s longest running tech services distributors (TSDs) in 32-year-old TBI with CDPQ-backed AppDirect, which has acquired a handful of tech services distributors (TSDs) over the last four years. The deal also represents another domino falling in the field of national TSDs, after PlanetOne and TCG agreed to deals last year. AppDirect beat out a competitive field of suitors, including multiple national TSDs and one IT distributor, to purchase TBI.

AppDirect leaders say they will marry TBI’s longstanding relationships with technology advisors (agents) and suppliers that historically operated in the telecom world, with AppDirect’s deep marketplace of more than 1,000 providers. Many of those providers deal in SaaS, a portfolio offering which AppDirect executives say agents can help their customers adopt. AppDirect executives have described its vision as a “relationship-based marketplace,” in which partners guide end customers through technology purchasing decisions on AppDirect’s platform.

Keep up with the latest channel-impacting mergers and acquisitions in our M&A roundup.

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AppDirect’s Nicolas Desmarais

AppDirect chairman and CEO Nicolas Desmarais called the acquisition a “crowning achievement” for his company.

“By combining the power of our platform and our entire ecosystem with TBI’s approach to the advisor-business relationship, we can provide a level of service for advisors that goes well beyond what has been achieved before,” Desmarais said.

Personnel Impact

In the meantime, dozens of layoffs have already taken place at TBI, with many occurring on Monday. Sources close to the matter indicated that at least 58 positions have been eliminated, with potentially more on the way. Many former employees have already posted about their job cuts.

When asked how AppDirect is handling duplicate roles, chief operating officer Renée Bergeron told Channel Futures that AppDirect’s “tremendous growth base” will keep the company from having to choose in many cases. She pointed to StrataCore’s recent decision to move all of its operations to the AppDirect platform.

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AppDirect’s Renee Bergeron

“There’s plenty of opportunity for people from TBI and from AppDirect,” she said. “The sheer size of the company and the pace at which we’re growing will really help us navigate through this.”

An AppDirect spokesperson told Channel Futures that the combined organization is approaching 1,000 employees. Many of those employees come from previously acquired companies, including NeoCloud, WTG, Telegration, MicroCorp, CNSG and ItCloud.ca.

Scroll through the 12 images above to see comments from Bergeron and get deeper information on the sale of TBI.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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