Bell Micro acquisition to open new doors at Forefront

The head of Forefront Graphics says the company’s acquisition by Bell Micro opens opportunities its resellers may never have had before.

Last week Bell Micro, which is based in California with Canadian headquarters in Toronto, said it would purchase Forefront for an undisclosed sum.

As part of the deal, Bell said Frank Squizatto, Forefront’s general manager, would become a Bell Micro vice-president reporting directly to Bell Micro Canada GM Peter Diniz.

Squizatto said when he began to consider a buyout of 15-year-old Forefront, he was looking for a distributor with a specific niche, even if it was outside the core graphics market where Forefront has made its name.

“It helps position Bell into a unique marketplace,” he said. “If we look at what Bell’s trying to do with the storage marketplace, now they get to do that with a lot of verticals.”

Like Diniz, Squizatto believes there is a strong future in specialty distributors that focus on a few select areas.

“Bell Micro’s a very focused organization,” he said. “It didn’t make any sense for me to go and join Ingram.”

In the past, Squizatto said Forefront’s resellers would sometimes go head to head with some of Bell Micro’s partners on certain accounts. Now, he said, Bell Micro will be able to offer a deeper level of support on many projects.

“A lot of dealers are looking for ‘What do I do next?'” he said. “We bring all this cool stuff which constantly looks into new technologies.”

Forefront resellers have been involved in a number of high-profile customer engagements, including the Air Canada slow-motion replay monitor to the Roots Canada video wall in a Toronto shopping centre.

The acquisition of the company will likely involve some layoffs, Squizzato added, as there is some overlap in office space and some back-end finance and accounting departments.

“You don’t want to pay two rents,” he said. “So we’ll be looking for that.”

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