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Post-TBI Acquisition, Partners Weigh the Future of AppDirect, TSDs

"I work with the assumption that no company will be what they are today three years from now," a partner said.

James Anderson

February 3, 2023

10 Slides

For AppDirect and its deep base of investors that helped the subscription commerce platform provide the resources to make the acquisition of TBI, the quest to win the market is far from over.

AppDirect’s acquisition of TBI on Wednesday hit the wires, signaling the consolidation of yet another national technology services distributor (TSD). However, the transaction dubbed by many as “the worst kept secret in the channel” came as no surprise to most partners and suppliers.

“The rumor mill surrounding TBI was spinning for quite some time,” Rise Technology Advisors co-founder Eric Ludwig said.

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

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Rise Technology Advisors’ Eric Ludwig

AppDirect acquired the Chicago-based technology distributor TBI this week with the stated goal of tapping into TBI’s expertise, processes and relationships in the telecommunications space. Executives at AppDirect hope TBI’s agent base will continue conducting business with the combined company and tap into cross-sell opportunities with the massive software marketplace.

“I don’t think anyone is surprised by this acquisition, as it seems to make sense on paper: AppDirect with its unique model coupled with the heft of a large legacy TSD like TBI,” Ludwig said. “The AppDirect portfolio does represent some unique services and partners outside the traditional suppliers, and the TBI back office certainly fits within any organization looking to balance front- and back-end resources and investments.”

An AppDirect Partner’s Perspective

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US Networks’ Mark Venuto

For Mark Venuto, chief operating officer at AppDirect partner US Network, it’s business as usual. The additive area, Venuto noted, is in TBI’s telecom processes, particularly with some of the larger service providers. But otherwise, he doesn’t see any disruption.

“The resources that I currently work with today will remain intact for us,” Venuto told Channel Futures. “I’ll see no change in resources from AppDirect. And if anything else, additional resources will help facilitate our sales volume and help increase our close ratio.”

Channel Futures spoke to different partners and suppliers of AppDirect and TBI to gauge their sentiments about the acquisition. They observed the lessening number of choices partners have for TSDs. Moreover, one noted how consolidation is taking vendors out of the driver’s seat in some respect. Channel Futures also obtained an FCC filing detailing individuals equity holders in AppDirect as of 2021.

See those opinions, insights and background in the 10 images above.

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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