Hammer claws free from 4Front

Puts distribution (name) into storage

Hammer Distribution regained its independence via an MBO from parent company 4front plc on Friday. The $13.1 million (£8 million) buyout was led by Hammer founders Paul Sangster and Steve Easterbrook. The headline price includes $4 million of debt assumed by the new owners. In 1996, 4front paid £2 million for the business. Sangster and Easterbrook, formerly sales and marketing director and finance director respectively, will be joint MDs of Hammer. Sangster said the company, founded in 1991, planned to change its name within the next two weeks and drop the term "distributor". It would continue to specialise in high-end storage distribution, but would add more services, he said. Hammer was moving to bigger offices, still in Basingstoke, later this month, he said. It will offer facilities such as a SAN lab where it will have demonstrations for customers. The company has 60 staff, and will be looking for between 12 and 16 technical sales staff over the next year. According to Sangster, 4front had long-term plans to sell Hammer and concentrate on its own services and maintenance business. He and Easterbrook therefore made a bid to buy back the company.®

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