Several behind-closed-doors meetings between several global distributors and some of Australia's leading second-tier distributors have been held in recent months as Australia's channel landscape continues its transformation.
According to a number of ARN sources, the likes of Ingram Micro, CHS, Tech Data and MicroAge are rumoured to be considering acquisition possibilities.
While Computer Hardware of Australia (CHA) director Roger Bushell said he is not actively looking for a buyer, he admitted "everything has a price". Industry observers put the sale price on CHA at $50 million.
ITG managing director Braham Schnider said there are "three or four companies looking at the Australian market".
He predicted a lot of rationalisation for the channel and warned smaller regional distributors to stay on their toes to keep up with the eventual entry of a global distributor.
US giant Ingram Micro has already bought a 21 per cent stake in Electronic Resources Australia and is expected to announce major products within the next month It also announced the $US100 million purchase of German distributor Microtron last week.
Greg Spierkel, Ingram Micro's Asia-Pacific president, did not deny talks were taking place with Australian distributors, but would not commit Ingram to making a purchase.
"We've been talking to the Australian industry for eight months," Spierkel said. "Partly because we're testing the waters to see if someone wants to work with us, and in part because we need to strengthen what we're doing with Electronic Resources.
Spierkel said Australian distributors have told him CHS has also been "looking around".
"We're (Ingram Micro, CHS and Tech Data) all looking to cover the globe to support global customers and to support global vendor relationships with common services and capabilities," Spierkel said.