Alcatel has sold its enterprise distribution business to US company Platinum Equity in a deal worth 1.5m euros. The move sees Alcatel shift to a completely indirect sales model in the enterprise space throughout Europe.
The French manufacturer had operated direct sales functions in 17 European countries and supplied 400,000 customers.
An Alcatel representative said the move is the final step in the implementation of the company's multi-channel strategy, which includes VARs, distributors and service providers.
Manny Pinon, sales and marketing director at distributor Norwood Adam, said: "This will benefit the indirect channel massively because the enterprise distribution division was very strong in providing complete Alcatel solutions, but now the channel can beat it on its own patch."
Pinon said Alcatel has been scaling back the activities of the direct sales arm. "Towards the end of last year reseller partners and distributors did more business than the direct arm," he said.
Peter Gatling, managing director at Alcatel reseller Memorex, also welcomed the move. "This is good news because it confirms Alcatel's channel commitment," he said.
However, Gatling added that it will not make a drastic difference because Alcatel has been treating its direct enterprise sales arm as an independent reseller for some time.
The move matches that made by Ericsson Enterprise in March last year when it sold its direct sales arm to Apax Partners Funds for £327m (CRN, 14 March).
Gatling said the new firm would create competition, but he believes it will face challenges now that it stands alone.
"It will be competition, but it always was. I think the new company will have to cut costs without Alcatel's support," he said.
According to Alcatel, the move will allow it to spend more time on the design and marketing of next-generation voice and data networking products.
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