Bloomberg

Tech Data Corp. (Nasdaq: TECD), one of the world’s biggest distributor of technology products and services, is buying Avnet Inc.’s (NYSE: AVT) tech solutions group for $2.6 billion to expand in Asia and pursue next-generation products.

In other tech related deals, Accel-KKR has agreed to acquire Smart Communications from Thunderhead; L Squared Capital Partners has purchased education technology company Learners Edge; and TPG said it will buy a stake in Intel’s McAfee Unit.

Tech Data will pay $2.4 billion in cash plus shares valued at about $200 million, Phoenix-based Avnet said in a statement. The transaction, expected to close in the first half of 2017, will add significantly to earnings in the first year after closing, Clearwater, Florida-based Tech Data said in a separate statement.

Tech Data distributes products from Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and more. As rivals have struggled to remain in business with more manufacturers promoting direct relationships with their customers, Tech Data has managed to survive due to its size and reach, as well as expanding its service offerings. Tech Data sells to customers in more than 100 countries, with Europe accounting for the majority of revenue. The deal with Avnet will establish Tech Data’s presence in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the statement.

Avnet shares rose 8.4 percent to $42.50 in early trading on Sept. 19, after the deal was announced, wiping out most of the losses for 2016. The shares were down 8.5 percent in 2016 through the close on Sept. 16. Tech Data rose 7.1 percent to $74.25. The shares had gained 4.5 percent so far in 2016.

Keith Housum, an analyst at Northcoast Research in Cleveland, Ohio, said that the deal will make Tech Data one of the top four players globally in providing data center and security solutions, two areas where it hasn’t been as strong. He also said that Avnet’s “better-than-average margins” mean that the deal should boost Tech Data’s earnings.

Avnet had been struggling recently, Housum said. Chief executive officer Rick Hamada left in July after the company cut its earnings forecast. William Amelio, who was appointed interim CEO, was given the job permanently on Sept. 6.

Avnet’s bankers on the deal are Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C) and Allen & Co., while GibsonDunn & Crutcher LLP is providing legal advice. BofA Merrill Lynch is Tech Data’s lead bank, while Raymond James and Associates also is working with the company. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is Tech Data’s legal counsel.

-- Additional reporting by Mergers & Acquistions' Demitri Diakantonis

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