HP chief executive Dion Weisler has addressed partner concerns over its acquisition of €285.5m-turnover printing giant Apogee, claiming that one of its competitors would have swooped on the company in its place.
Speaking to a room of 1,000 channel delegates at Canalys' EMEA Channels Forum in Barcelona, Weisler revealed that buying up Apogee was a "defensive move" as it jostles for market share in the A3 contractual printer space.
"We feel it's important for us to accelerate one; our scale, and two; our understanding of how that business works. We looked across Europe and across the US and we came across Apogee who were for sale. They were effectively operated by a firm, and they were on the market. They are a great company; they have been growing aggressively organically and inorganically, they have a lot of solutions and an intimate understanding, and they were highly acquisitive in their own right," he said.
"We looked at this and said: if we don't acquire them, one of our competitors will. In this business, you are talking about machines in field, and a contract is three, five or seven years in length. We would be yielding that machine in field population for a very long time."
Weisler said it was always the intention to set up Apogee as an independent reseller, and reiterated that the company would not receive any preferential treatment over HP's other partners.
"They get the same terms and conditions as our large partners around the HP universe, no special treatment. They have their own independent board, with an independent director on it," he said.
"So, I understand that people may be concerned in the room that we are in this business. We still do 87 of our business with and through the channel, and you should expect that we won't change that composition largely at all."
Addressing channel delegates, he added: "I'm not asking you to believe us, you will believe us when you see that we don't give Apogee any special treatment over time."
HP's move on Apogee was only the latest in a string of examples where print vendors were turning to its own channel for M&A. Xerox, Sharp and Kyocera have all bought up their own channel partners in recent years.
The deal, announced on 1 August, valued Apogee at £380m. The firm claims to be the largest independent print provider in Europe.
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