US integrator Ikon is to buy UK-based Redbox after the last minute collapse of plans to acquire Computacenter.
The US integrator and Var took its planned acquisition of Computacenter to the due diligence stage but has now opted to build a European company from smaller pieces, starting with its first buy, UK integrator Redbox.
Advisors have told Ikon it should move quickly with further buys and it will weigh up 16 more European acquisition targets before the end of June. Computacenter was originally an Ikon target, admitted Mike Anderer, vice president of systems solutions at Ikon.
"We looked at Computacenter and others with big presence but due diligence showed they are not so attractive to us. Of the top 10 [UK resellers] some need turnaround, some are already public in the US and for some we would need to find new management, so we have made a small start [with Redbox]." He did not say if Computacenter?s shareholders would be willing to sell.
'VNU Newswire' revealed last month that the American reseller chain has plans to buy its way into the European market with a policy of taking young, growing integrators and adding IT sales to its office equipment business (see Newswire, 30 May).
Of the 16 targets Anderer will examine in the next two weeks, he expects "to buy several of them within 90 days". He said the company will probably spend between $50 million and $100 million on each.
Anderer would not reveal how much Ikon paid for Redbox to avoid giving away sensitive financial information to competitors. Redbox, the privately held company based in Manchester, has a turnover of just under #5 million.
"The management and their contacts are the most important part of this. These guys have given us a taste for a larger acquisition and it?s important to get the first one done because we need local presence," said Anderer.
He said Redbox has a similar management style and company culture to Ikon, along with a track record of introducing companies to Europe after it built a channel for networking company Firefox a few years ago. Redbox will also help Ikon find other acquisitions in Europe.
Ikon hopes to repeat integration services for its US clients in the UK and send staff from both companies to work on the other side of the Atlantic. The $4 billion US company aims to supply mainly small and medium sized firms with integration services, along with some larger clients, adding to its more familiar office equipment business.
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