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Horizon Technology Group has become Avnet’s latest acquisition, as the value-added distributor bolsters its market share in the United Kingdom against rival VAD Arrow’s established European footprint.

Horizon Technology Group is an integrator and IT products distributor in the U.K. and Ireland that distributes enterprise server, storage, networking and security products from Sun Microsystems, EMC, F5 Networks, Juniper, IBM and Nortel, among others.

Horizon’s Client Solutions business unit also partners with major software vendors BMC, Microstrategy and SAP to develop and implement software-based solutions and services.

Horizon will be integrated into Avnet’s European Technology Solutions business, the companies said.

Roy Vallee, Avnet’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement that the acquisition will strengthen ATS’ position in the U.K. IT distribution market and expand its geographic coverage into Ireland. He said the addition of Horizon will give VARs more opportunities for cross-selling, increase ATS’ ability to scale business in the region, and accelerate the growth of Technology Solutions in Europe.

Avnet has made a number of acquisitions in the region within the last six months, including Azzurri, a U.K.-based distributor of semiconductors and embedded systems products, which closed April 1, and the Enterprise Infrastructure Division of Magirus Group, a value-added distributor of IBM and Hewlett-Packard enterprise computing products with a presence in seven European countries, which closed in October 2007.

Rival Arrow began beefing up its European holdings several years ago, with the acquisition of, a midrange computer products distributor, in December 2005 and the acquisition of storage and security products distributor InTechnology in December 2006. Arrow also acquired Centia Group and AKS Group Nordic, both specialty distributors of infrastructure, security and virtualization software technology, in September 2007, according to statements from Arrow. 

An Avnet spokesperson said that the Horizon acquisition builds on Avnet Technology Solutions’ strategy to grow in the region. Arrow’s more established position in the European marketplace, the spokesperson said, is merely an indication that Avnet’s acquisitions were focused on a growing geographic area.

"We feel [Arrow’s presence] is an affirmation of our strategy to achieve the scale and coverage we’re trying to achieve in an area where the distributor marketplace isn’t so consolidated," the spokesperson said.

The approximately $150 million deal is subject to the completion of a tender offer under Irish Takeover Rules and European Union merger control clearance, but is expected to close by the end of June 2008.

In 2007, Horizon had total sales of 288 million euros, or approximately $458 million.