M&A Stunner: Avant Acquiring PlanetOne as TSB Consolidation Continues

Avant first announced its private equity investment from Pamlico Capital in October.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

May 11, 2022

4 Min Read

Avant is buying PlanetOne in a landmark deal for the technology advisory space.

Chicago-based Avant’s merger with PlanetOne brings PlanetOne’s team as well as its business intelligence platform – Sentient – into the fold. PlanetOne founder and CEO Ted Schuman will become customer experience officer (CXO) at Avant, and chief operations officer and president Chris Werpy will serve as chief innovation officer (CIO).


Avant’s Ian Kieninger

“The acquisition of PlanetOne is an instant multiplier for the people, partners and providers working with and for Avant and PlanetOne,” Avant CEO Ian Kieninger said.

The transaction, whose financial details were not disclosed, offers synergies between the Sentient and Avant Pathfinder applications, the companies said.

“The synergies gained from merging the sales excellence and technical talent of Avant with the back-office, operational efficiencies and partner enablement energy of PlanetOne were undeniable — it was the right deal at the right time and for the right reasons,” Schuman said.

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

Kieninger said both companies possess a mutual respect for “excellence and the employee and partner experience.”


PlanetOne’s Ted Schuman

“One of the best aspects of this move is where there are synergies and separations in the Avant and PlanetOne models, there are incredible and immediate opportunities for our people, partners and providers to grow the business together,” said Werpy, whose new position puts him in charge of strategic initiatives, inorganic growth and alliances.



PlanetOne’s Chris Werpy

Avant last October announced that it had accepted an investment from Pamlico Capital.

CEO Ian Kieninger told Channel Futures last fall that bringing in institutional capital made sense for his team as the technology advisory space grew. He said they had been watching the deals Intelisys and Telarus made with attention to how the industry responded.

“And we watched how people were making these partnerships and what their objectives were. And we realized at some point these industries are going to get really, really big. What was very clear to us is that the revenue opportunity of our channel is tremendous,” Kieninger said at the time. “But we’ve got to widen the straw. It was like we were trying to drink the glass of water through a straw, and the only thing holding us back was the size of the straw. Because the end user community is massive, right? How do we how do we widen the straw – the aperture, if you will – and help these trusted advisers access more customers of their own?”

Kieninger laid out several areas where the investment will help, including international growth, deeper market research and more financial resources for partners. Kieninger also said at the time that Pamlico valued Avant’s organic growth, although M&A was still on the table.

Avant has already put the new money to use. It expanded its market research efforts, vowing to provide Forrester-level insights for the agency space. It also launched an enhanced security practice.

Joining the Fray

Although PlanetOne stayed independent amid announcements from several of its competitors, Schuman acknowledged last year that M&A was always possible for his firm. Although he said he enjoyed PlanetOne’s independence, he said every company has its price.

“I’m not saying that I would never sell. Because anyone who tells you that is lying,” Schuman told Channel Futures last fall..

Schuman exchanged his rationale for the transaction in a video.

Partner Perspective

Mejeticks CEO Rob Devita works closely with Avant. He praised the acquisition.


Mejeticks’ Robert Devita

“This acquisition shows Avant’s commitment to growing by buying other regional masters instead of direct-selling agencies. This gives them a much larger presence in the Southwest,” he said. “PlanetOne brings project management resources to the table where Avant had a gap. Avant gains additional vendors and adds to the revenue book on existing vendors. PlanetOne’s Sentient will fit well into Avant’s Pathfinder platform and gives them additional feature functionality.”

Devita pointed to TCG and TBI, who have both vowed to stay away from private equity. Devita said they remain as two of the largest remaining firms of their kind.

“We will continue to see additional consolidation in this space,” he said.

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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