Butler buys into Exeed, which grabs Micro Ingram's Ling

Technology company veteran Tony Butler has bought into the country's second-biggest IT distribution company, Exeed.

Mr Butler founded New Zealand's largest IT distribution company Tech Pacific, which was sold to Ingram Micro in 2005.

His Exeed buy-in was prompted by the exit of founding Australian shareholder Michael Bosnar.

Mr Butler was already chairman of Exeed, which acquired the distribution arm of listed company Renaissance Corporation last year in a messy transaction which led to a legal settlement.

In a move which has tech tongues wagging, Desmond Ling, Ingram Micro Australia's senior director of volume technology group, will join Exeed as marketing manager next month – and will replace Mr Bosnar on the board.

Mr Butler told NBR ONLINE his shareholding, and 100% New Zealand ownership, was more "the outcome rather than the plan".

"Michael Bosnar, who was one of the founding shareholders, has made the decision to sell out his shares and I've been lucky enough to be in a position to buy them."

The New Zealand company was founded in 2002 with a 60% Australian shareholding.

Mr Butler says: "We've gone from a $40 million company [by turnover] four years ago to a forecast $160 million this year.

"And as such the company obviously requires growth capital and so it was a suitable time to sit down the existing shareholders and work out what to do."

Company changes

According to Companies Office records, Exeed Ltd is now solely-owned by Exeed Investment Trustee Limited.

Mr Butler is its only shareholder but he says in a statement managing director Justin Tye and chief operating officer Andrew Bain retain an interest in the company and continue in their current roles.

Last week, former shareholding company Exeed Holdings was put into liquidation – something Mr Tye describes as an administrative change.

That company's directors have signed a resolution of solvency, pledging the company is able to meet its debts.

Exeed employs 55 people, mainly in Auckland, and works through 1200 resellers and retailers to sell IT products including Apple, Samsung, HP and Microsoft, specialising in sales to small-to-medium businesses.

It has recently moved its head office within Parnell and opened a warehouse in Penrose, consolidating its own Parnell warehouse and Renaissance's warehouse in Onehunga. 

Mr Butler says the company is seeking further growth in the next couple of years, driven by the rise of tablets and cloud storage.

"There is further consolidation to be had in the New Zealand market and we aren't blind to the opportunity of further acquisitions, as and when that becomes suitable."

He says there are currently no acquisition discussions.

His comment comes after news Renaissance is undertaking a strategic review as its weak share price leaves it vulnerable to a takeover.

dwilliams@nbr.co.nz

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