Xerox will buy Global Imaging Systems for $1.5bn

Xerox will pay $1.5bn (£750m) to acquire Global Imaging Systems, an office imaging equipment reseller that focuses SMEs, the companies announced.

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Xerox will pay $1.5bn (£750m) to acquire Global Imaging Systems, an office imaging equipment reseller that focuses on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the companies announced.

Xerox hopes to use the deal as a way to claim a larger share of the SME market for document handling, according to a statement from Anne Mulcahy, Xerox chair and chief executive.

By making this deal, Xerox gains access to Global's 200,000 US customers and its 1,400 sales representatives. And Global will finally begin to sell Xerox equipment. Until now, Global has sold and serviced digital office equipment such as copiers, fax machines, printers and slide projectors built by suppliers including Konica Minolta Holdings, Canon, Sharp, Panasonic, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Microsoft and Sony. That list of companies will now include Xerox.

When the deal is final, Xerox expects to employ all of Global's 4,500 employees, including its president, Tom Johnson, and chief operating officer, Michael Shea. Xerox expects the acquisition to close in May, following approval by Global shareholders and US antitrust regulators.

The deal would be the company's third buyout in a year. Xerox paid $175m (£82m) for electronic discovery management firm Amici in July 2006, and paid $54m (£27m) for marketing software firm XMPie in November.

Global has also consolidated many office equipment dealers in this fragmented sector. The company has acquired more than 80 businesses since it was founded in 1994 to serve small customers like law firms, doctors' offices and accounting agencies. Most recently, Global bought TML Enterprises, an office technology dealer, on 23 March. And Global bought Astro Business Technologies, also an office technology firm, on 31 January.

Global posted revenue of $1bn (£500m) for the 2005 financial year. For its quarter ending 31 December, Global earned revenue of $270m (£135m) generating profit of $18m (£9m), both up at least 8% from the same period last year.

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