Specialist Computer Holdings claimed to have become the largest reseller in Europe last week, with the acquisition of the information services division Info'Products Europe.
Privately owned SCH will acquire Info'Products from its Dutch parent company, Buhrmann, for an undisclosed sum. Buhrmann has been trying to offload its IT division since October 1999. Computacenter also bid for it.
The deal, which is expected to be completed at the end of March, will create a company with a turnover of £1.4bn and more than 4,000 staff operating in seven European countries. It should double the current turnover of SCH and treble the size of the group's reseller arm, SCC.
SCH will operate the pan-European firm through Specialist Computers International, but divisions will retain all of their current trading names. The group claimed that, through the deal, SCH is now the number one reseller in France and Holland, with subsidiaries in most of Europe, including Germany, Belgium and Italy. Compel bought Info'Products in 1998.
Peter Rigby, chairman of SCH, said: "The demand for pan-European IT service delivery increases apace, and coupled with the trend for outsourcing, the opportunities for growth are tremendous - at least 15 per cent for this year."
Phil Williams, corporate development manager at rival Computacenter, confirmed it had put in a lower bid for Info'Products. He said Computacenter will now expect more competition from SCH in Europe.
Williams said: "It may take some time for the results of the buyout to be seen, as acquisitions take a lot of integration. It is essential to have a strong management team that knows all aspects of the business."
Williams also said Computacenter was still on the lookout for potential buying targets, but was so far concentrating on organic growth. SCH's claim that it is number one in Europe could be challenged when Computacenter's results for 1999 are released in March.
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