Ilion has been forced into talks with potential buyers to block any hostile takeover attempt of the troubled networking distributor by its majority shareholder, Paul Kuiken, chief executive of Landis.
As exclusively revealed in PC Dealer, Kuiken, through his personal company Finance IT BV, owns 11.8 per cent of Ilion after purchasing the 6.63 per cent stake of founder and former chairman, Wayne Channon, earlier this month (PC Dealer, 14 April).
Serge van Gorkum, chief executive of Ilion, admitted Kuiken's interest was the motivating factor behind the board's decision to enter discussions with other parties about a possible deal.
'We had no choice. If Kuiken wants this company he will have to pay the right price. To make sure he does, the board and I must look at every proposal offered.'
He added: 'We will talk to everybody to fight against Kuiken.'
Van Gorkum declined to specify which companies Ilion has been talking to but confirmed that no official offer had yet been made. Azlan, Tech Data and Datatec are Ilion's most likely potential buyers aside from Landis.
Van Gorkum also refused to name the price the board expected an acquiring company to pay for Ilion, but said the buyer would be expected to at least meet the company's share price value.
He insisted that Ilion would not be broken up into regions to be sold, but he refused to rule out a split should the distributor remain independent after all.
A source close to the distributor claimed Channon had approached the board earlier this year with an offer to buy the UK operation, but was turned down.
Van Gorkum said Ilion's management made strategic mistakes in the past.
'If I had joined the board a year ago, we would not be in this situation, but you can't rewrite history. Problems we had in 1998 damaged the company.'
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