Merisel Inc. (Nasdaq:MSEL) today (Nov 10) announced that it has completed the previously announced $2,375,000 acquisition of substantially all the assets of Charlottesville, Va.-based Value America Inc., which had filed for Chapter 11 protection in August.
This acquisition is intended to complement Merisel’s existing back-end logistics capability with a state-of-the-art front-end web-based customer interface and e-service offerings. These services will be offered by a newly formed company headquartered in Charlottesville, VA, which will target large manufacturers and national brick-and-mortar retailers interested in growing Internet revenues with an award-winning, world-class technology infrastructure and a seasoned team of experienced professionals.
Merisel plans to leverage core competencies to take advantage of the high growth rate of Internet commerce. According to industry analysts, the potential market size of the e-business segment is predicted to exceed $6 billion by 2004. The company will focus on manufacturers and retailers who sell their products through traditional channels, and are looking to move into the e-commerce arena.
This acquisition will extend Merisel’s service offerings beyond its core competency of logistics and distribution to a complete turnkey e-commerce solution, offering a complete menu of services for clients once the system is completed in the next few months. Along with planning, developing and implementing e-fulfillment solutions, the company will also offer marketing services, advertising, web development and design as well as interactive call center management and customer service to help clients grow their online businesses. Merisel believes this will be the first ever world-class end-to-end e-commerce and e-fulfillment infrastructure in the industry.
“We have acquired a very experienced team with a comprehensive knowledge of the e-commerce transactional process. We are excited about combining two world-class technology systems and growing the existing Merisel business,” said David G. Sadler, Chief Executive Officer of Merisel. “The new company will be a service-based business and will not compete, in any way, with Merisel’s current distribution-based business.”
R. Steven Tungate, former Senior Vice President of Operations for Value America, has been named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the new business unit. Mr. Tungate has over 20 years of experience in manufacturing, inventory, and logistics planning and development. Prior to joining Value America, Mr. Tungate held executive positions with IBM Personal Systems Group’s in sales, marketing, distribution management, manufacturing, inventory, product scheduling, and purchasing.
“I’m delighted to have this opportunity to lead this arm of Merisel’s business,” said Mr. Tungate. “Value America was a pioneer in e-commerce. During its 24 months of operation, the company marketed over 3,000 brands and had revenues of over $250 million. Combine this history with Merisel’s track record of shipping over 8 million orders with a 99.993 percent accuracy rating, and we will form a company that offers an unmatched competitive advantage over other companies that provide e-commerce solutions.”
Also joining the executive team of the new company will be Nick Hofer, Senior Vice President of Marketing. Mr. Hofer will oversee all marketing aspects for the division as well as client advertising, marketing communications, public relations and web design. Jeff Hansen has been named Senior Vice President of Business Development. Mr. Hansen will act as the lead strategist focused on developing and implementing key alliances and partnerships to leverage the company’s core competencies.
Melissa Monk has been appointed Senior Vice President of Sales. Ms. Monk will drive client acquisition efforts and manage key accounts and interactive services. Finally, Ruth
Clowater has been named Vice President of Information Technology leading the division’s IT professionals in development of the company’s web-based future.