Comcast Business' Craig Schlagbaum on Channel M&A and the 'Riddle' of Net-New Logos

"There's a balancing act that I think has to happen, and we're getting closer to that now than we were in the last five years," Schlagbaum said.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

April 5, 2023

14 Slides

For Craig Schlagbaum, senior vice president of indirect channels at Comcast Business, M&A in the channel presents a much-needed rationalization opportunity and at the same time a challenge for the expansion of the industry.

The channel has seen perpetual M&A among its vendors over the years, but private equity and other institutional investors have moved downstream in recent years to aggressively target technology service distributors (TSDs) and technology advisors (agents). This consolidation is leading to larger, and in many cases, more sophisticated organizations.


Comcast’s Craig Schlagbaum

But Schlagbaum and other vendor leaders hope to see a new generation of partners and customers enter the channel. That means TSDs will need to make the investments necessary to attract nontraditional partners; furthermore, agents will need to continue expanding their customer bases.

“The challenge for service providers is that we all have obligations to do net-new bookings of new customers,” Schlagbaum told Channel Futures. “We can’t just manage a base.”

Schlagbaum oversees arguably the largest vendor channel program operating in the TSD channel. Moreover, he has longevity — a dozen years in the position. As a result, he represents one of the most respected sources on the state of the channel.

Schlagbaum fielded a variety of questions from Channel Futures about consolidation, superagencies, MDF and the challenges vendors face. Scroll through the gallery above to see what he had to say.

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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