Word that giant Santa Ana, Calif.-based distributor Ingram Micro Inc. agreed to be purchased for $6 billion by Tianjin Tianhai Investment Co. Ltd., a Chinese company primarily engaged in shipping whose largest shareholder is Hainan-based conglomerate HNA Group, shook up the IT world yesterday. Since then, Ingram Micro partners have been asking an inevitable question: What does this mean for me?
And according to internal documents provided to ChannelPro-SMB, Ingram Micro’s answer is not much.
That at least is the core message delivered by Ingram Micro CEO Alain Monie in a letter sent yesterday to the company’s employees, who are undoubtedly (and understandably) every bit as eager as the IT partner community to understand how the blockbuster acquisition is likely to impact them. States Monie:
…HNA Group has assured us that all local country operations and lines of business will continue unaffected as a result of this merger, with our corporate headquarters remaining in Irvine, California.
I will continue to lead the company as CEO and HNA Group has assured us that Ingram Micro will continue to operate in the same manner with our management and associates remaining in place across all operations, serving the same vendor and customer partners as before.
I realize this news is unexpected, and I am sure you are all wondering what this means for each of you. I would like to assure you that it is business as usual at Ingram Micro and very little, if anything, is expected to change as a result of this merger. In fact, HNA Group has assured us that very few Ingram Micro positions will be impacted by this merger. Our brand, strategy, purpose, and values remain unchanged. HNA Group has assured us that they are committed to maintaining the leadership and the core values that have made Ingram Micro a trusted partner, an industry leader, and a great place to work.
Until the transaction is completed, which we expect will occur in the second half of 2016 subject to stockholder approval by both Tianjin Tianhai and Ingram Micro and customary regulatory approvals, Ingram Micro and HNA Group will continue to operate as separate companies. We should all remain focused on executing on our 2016 business plans and goals and providing our vendor and customer partners with the superior experience and solutions they have come to expect from us.
Of course, it’s traditional for management to reassure employees—and in this case partners—that there’s nothing but the status quo ahead, and only time will tell if Ingram Micro’s new ownership eventually decides to alter the company’s strategy, focus areas, or revenue model.
It’s also at least conceivable that HNA Group could either change or potentially augment Ingram Micro’s supplier relationships, given its extensive business relationships across Asia, a possibility hinted at in Monie’s letter:
As a part of HNA Group, Ingram Micro will benefit from being part of a larger organization that has complementary logistics capabilities and a significant presence in China and other emerging markets that we believe will benefit the business objectives of our vendor and customer partners.
Ingram Micro isn’t expected to have much more to say publicly about its new ownership today, but is reportedly holding discussions with partners. One can only assume Tech Data, SYNNEX, and other distributors are reaching out to some of those same partners and playing up the risks and uncertainty connected to working with a distributor that has a pending acquisition in play and Asian ownership in its future. If Monie has his way, however, Ingram Micro partners—and employees—will stay the course for now.