Avnet will look to use its European shopping spree to extend its vendor portfolio in the U.S. market.

The distribution giant recently ploughed more cash into its European acquisition strategy with its third major purchase in the region in just over a year. Dick Borsboom, president of Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA, said buying the IT Solutions division of U.K.-based distributor Acal will give the company a better foothold in the storage networking and enterprise content management sectors.

“With [this acquisition] we are strengthening the cross-manufacturer solutions competence … with a view to the future markets of storage networking and enterprise content management,” he said. “We also have the potential to geographically expand supplier relationships that are specifically doing business with Acal in Europe in other regions.”

Acal has relationships with more than 50 vendors, including Brocade, Emulex, Motorola, Juniper and Cisco for its MDS switching range. Avnet has already stated publicly that it is keen to develop a relationship with Cisco.

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Alastair Edwards, senior analyst at U.K.-based Canalys, said the move was centered around Avnet making a serious play in the storage networking sector.

“This will take Avnet into a new domain in its vendor portfolio. The role of the network going forward, especially considering the role of unified communications, is changing, and Avnet has obviously seen a massive opportunity here,” he said. “Juniper and Cisco will be the two critical relationships for Avnet here and from a global point of view in terms of the opportunity and diversification.”

Borsboom also said it is unlikely to be the end of the Avnet’s acquisition strategy.

“The channel is more and more on a consolidation course; partnerships, mergers and acquisitions are the order of the day. Thanks to the massive increase in its stock market value, Avnet Technology Solutions is in the comfortable situation of being able to invest in acquisitions,” he said.

Avnet is also is still waiting for EU and shareholder clearance for its previous acquisition of the Infrastructure division of Germany-based distributor Magirus, announced in July.