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The acquisition race is on – Hewlett-Packard announces deal to acquire Managed Print Services company, Printelligent


Issue #1113/2 – Further consolidating the Managed Print Services (MPS) market, Hewlett-Packard today issued press releases announcing that it has signed an agreement to acquire Printelligent, a US company that pioneered the principle of Managed Document Solutions as far back as 1993.

Whereas Xerox bought NewField IT largely for its Asset DB software suite, it seems that Hewlett-Packard has snapped up Printelligent in order to gain a strong foothold in its targeted MPS growth area, channel-based MPS. One good reason for doing this is to avoid the expense and time involved in developing the area on its own. In essence, it is more cost-effective to buy into channel-based MPS by buying a client list and channel infrastructure than to develop an offering and channel infrastructure in its entirety.

Unlike NewField IT, Printelligent is a US only company, so does not have quite the market significance of NewField IT. Also unlike NewField IT, Printelligent will be absorbed into the Hewlett-Packard family in its entirety – infrastructure, assets and workforce.

Printelligent MPS

Reducing the number of independent MPS consultants further, some of the same issues of competitive acceptance will face Printelligent as face NewField. Printelligent currently works with Xerox, Lanier and Kyocera in addition to Hewlett-Packard. The big difference between the two companies is that, while NewField attempts to remain independent and still work with hardware manufacturers other than Xerox, Printelligent will become an integral part of Hewlett-Packard and would be expected to drop relationships with other manufacturers.

This will hit Kyocera particularly hard as the company does not have the same market reach for Managed Print as market leaders like Hewlett-Packard and Xerox. It will also widen the gap between the OEM giants and the independent players. This can be seen either as a threat to the smaller independent players or as an opportunity to offer a truly independent and cross-platform service to those organisations that do not wish to climb into bed with the hardware manufacturer itself.

Where there may be some uncertainty, is that Printelligent has developed a large range of partners over the years, powering their service offerings. The question will be, “will these partners wish to continue the relationship with Hewlett-Packard, with the hardware implications this brings into play?”

While Hewlett-Packard and Xerox are able to offer global reach in their MPS offerings, the smaller independents tend to be restricted to a more local reach and will suit smaller organisations that do not operate on a multi-national scale.

So, interesting times! How much more consolidation might be to come? Which of these two acquisitions will benefit the host company more in the long-term?

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