Live from The Annual Catalog Conference: Insight Withdraws Spin-off

Boston–In business as in comedy, timing is everything. And Tempe, AZ-based computer marketer Insight Enterprises decided the time isn’t right to spin off its retailing services unit.

In December, Insight announced plans to spin off its Direct Alliance unit this year. The unit filed for a $50 million initial public offering. But in the face of unstable market conditions, Insight withdrew the offering.

Also late last week, Insight announced a slight shakeup at the top: Cofounder Tim Crown was named CEO, while fellow cofounder Eric Crown will serve as chairman. Previously, the two shared the CEO role. Branson “Tony” Smith has been named president, responsible for the daily operations of Insight’s Direct Worldwide and Direct Alliance units.

“We’re as committed as ever to an ultimate spin-off of Direct Alliance,” Crown said in a statement, but “we don’t believe current public securities markets and economic conditions are conducive to a transaction that would be in the best interests of our shareholders.”

Insight will take a second-quarter charge to cover the cancelled IPO. Earnings per share before the charge are expected to be $0.32-$0.35. Insight expects revenue to rise 6%-11% over last year’s second-quarter sales, to $515 million-$540 million.