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Arrow Electronics engulfs hefty data centre player in €230m gobble

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Serial swallower Arrow Electronics has wolfed down security and network distie Computerlinks (C'links) in a deal valued at €230m (£198m).

Word on the street was that US-based giant Arrow had been locked in buyout talks with the privately-owned, Germany-based player earlier in the summer, but the deal was only confirmed late last night.

"This acquisition supports our strategy to serve the data centre of the future," said Arrow CEO Michael Long in a canned statement.

Venture capitalist Equistone - previously Barclays Private Equity - took C'links off the Frankfurt stock exchange five years ago for €104m (£89.94m). From that time, as an independently owned entity the business released only heavily abbreviated accounts.

Back in March, C'links - which employs around 660 staff - said group revenues in EMEA and North America reached €943m in calendar 2011, up 23 per cent on the previous year. It did not reveal profit.

According to new owner Arrow, Computerlinks operations are forecast to turn €700m in revenues this year - or $950m in accordance with US generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP).

So clearly the challenging market conditions last year and this have taken a toll on top line growth.

Neither has Arrow been immune to the recession, keeping costs in check to match leaner trading conditions, though in the last set of numbers for Q2 things appeared to be looking up.

Arrow, much like its arch rival Avnet, has been engaged in a buy-and-build strategy for years, picking off smaller targets operating in higher margin technologies including InTechnology and Sphinx.

The deal is subject to regulatory approval and is estimated to close in the last quarter of this year.

Update C'links has been in touch to say that it uses International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) when accounting for sales, and as such is forecasting sales of €1.1bn this year including €400m of renewals.

The spokeswoman pointed out that Arrow uses the US system, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), which does not include renewals. Under GAAP, renewals are termed as agency business. ®

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