It is 0630 at London Airport, and Exclusive Networks Group (ENG) CEO and chairman, Olivier Breittmayer, is waiting to board a flight to hometown Paris. He’s a powerful man. His sphere of influence touches 21 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA). And now the acquisition of WhiteGold Solutions through a 70 per cent majority shareholding marks ENG’s move into Asia-Pacific.
“It is a first step for us,” he said. “It will be a good reach for us to have. It came about because we like to focus and we have decided to move forward. We had achieved 84 per cent coverage in EMEA, so we had strong cover there, and there were only some small countries left we didn’t want to go into. Having finished EMEA we decided to do Australia.”
Why? “It’s a big market. The size of the tech market is similar to that of France, which is the third biggest in Europe behind the UK and Germany, both of which have markets twice the size of the French market,” Breittmayer said.
This, of course, means that WhiteGold (eventually Exclusive Networks Group Asia-Pac) will bring considerable revenue and clout to the Group.
He points out that Asia-Pac was a logical next step, particularly as the business model in the US is very different and they don’t need value-added distribution.
Breittmayer confirms that outside of geographic and market reasons, there were several factors that attracted ENG to WhiteGold, not the least of which was its consistently strong yearly revenue growth in recent years. More importantly though, they are very similar businesses.
“We really have the same DNA when it comes to sole distribution with vendors,” he said. ”Apart from the fact that we have seven key vendors in common, it was very important for us that we have the same model, the same way of offering added value such as support services, training and so on.”
So will ENG flex its managerial muscle and takeover use its majority shareholding to run the A/NZ operation. "No," he says, quite firmly, “We don’t have any intention of managing the company.
“In Europe we do a lot of acquisitions of healthy, profitable companies, that have grown and profited further once we have acquired them.
“Yes, we help, by giving advice, perhaps encouraging them to expand a little bit to grow faster, maybe look at new vendors, add staff. We share our experience with the other company.”
And there’s an element of trust because this a big market a long way away from ENG’s Paris headquarters, but you get the feeling Breittmayer is more than happy with the deal and with ENG’s latest territorial initiative.
That he knows what he is doing is unquestionable. According to his ENG bio, Breittmayer has more than 25 years’ experience of working with fast-growth technology companies across sales, marketing, product development and management roles. He has been instrumental in the strategic growth and transformation of a number of Europe wide technology vendors and distributors, and has managed the successful acquisition and/or merger of some of Europe’s most influential technology companies.
A graduate of the Ecole Supérieure de Gestion business school and holder of a degree in Economic Sciences from the Université Paris X, Breittmayer joined the Exclusive Networks Group as CEO and chairman in September 2005
Since then, he has redefined the strategy of the Group and restructured its operations, bringing about significant organic and incremental growth. Australia is the latest chapter in that story.