Acquisition may move CDW from box seller to service provider

The acquisition of Berbee Information Networks Corp. gives CDW much greater expertise in networking, integration and managed services.

CDW Corp. announced earlier this month that it will acquire Berbee Information Networks Corp. for $175 million in cash.

More than half of Berbee's $390 million in annual revenue comes from enterprise-level customers in the form of server consolidation, virtualization, voice-over-IP development and application services. Berbee, with its Madison, Wisc.-based staff of 800, netted $22 million last year.

The deal gives CDW much greater expertise in network infrastructure, unified communications, systems and storage integration, and managed services, all areas into which the reseller is trying to expand.

Company executives, who noted that CDW is trying to move upstream to capture more of its customers' spending on professional services and integration, said the initial benefit will be in the northern Midwest, where Berbee's presence is strongest, but will filter out to the rest of CDW's territory as well. CDW plans to more than double Berbee's revenue within five years.

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