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HP Acquires Office Equipment Partner Apogee for $500 Million

HP Inc. has acquired European office equipment dealer (OED) Apogee for £380M — or roughly US$500 million. The deal positions HP to push deeper into SMB and midmarket managed print services. But it also raises questions about potential channel conflicts between Apogee and other HP partners.

Apogee is Europe’s largest independent provider of print, outsourced services, and document and process technology, the companies say. The deal, according to HP, furthers a plan to disrupt the $55 billion A3 copier market and builds on its printing strategy to:

  • enhance its A3 and A4 product portfolio;
  • build differentiated solutions and tools to expand its Managed Print Services (MPS); and
  • invest in its direct and indirect go-to-market (GTM) capabilities.

Enrique Lores, president of HP Imaging and Print, said in a prepared statement:

“The Apogee acquisition extends HP’s print leadership by boldly leveraging the industry shift to contractual sales as we aggressively pursue the A3 office market. We’re augmenting our go-to-market and enhancing our ability to deliver the services necessary to win in the profitable contractual market. This deal complements our broader channel strategy and HP remains committed to building our business through our best-in-class partner program.”

The buyout also furthers HP’s push into managed print services — particularly in the SMB sector, the company says.  The deal is expected to close by the end of calendar year 2018.

Business Model Evolutions — And Channel Conflicts?

Aware of potential channel conflict concerns, HP insists Apogee “will have the same commercial relationship with HP as any other premium partner with access to the same tools and partner programs.” Translation: HP essentially is trying to assure that all partners will enjoy an equal playing field vs. Apogee.

All of the major printer makers have been reworking their business models amid margin and sales pressures in the hardware market. Like HP, Xerox’s GIS arm has made similar moves in terms of acquiring partners to plug gaps in its sales and coverage portfolio. Also, Lexmark International s preparing to launch new SMB partner and distribution initiatives later this year, Global Channel Chief Sammy Kinlaw confirmed to ChannelE2E last week.

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