Mergers and Acquisitions

Office equipment manufacturer Martin Yale International recently completed the acquisition of South Africa’s Action Group. Located in Johannesburg, Action Group is a leading supplier of professional office products in South Africa and has been a joint venture partner and distributor of Martin Yale International for almost 30 years. (Johannesburg, SA)
Books, stationery and entertainment retailer Borders Group is to sell its Australia, New Zealand and Singapore operations to Australian retailer A&R Whitcoulls. The total value of the deal – which includes 30 Borders superstores – could rise to around $105 million if certain performance targets are met. Managing Director of Borders Asia Pacific, John Campradt, will continue to serve in his current role managing the Borders business. (MI, USA)

Brother International has acquired the mobile solutions division of Pentax from the Hoya Group. Products include portable scanners and printers which Brother says will help it to move into different markets. Brother will take over responsibility for supporting the existing range, including consumables supplies. For a short while,Brother will also continue to market the devices under the Pentax brand name. Pentax Mobile Solutions had sales of around $14 million in its last fiscal year. The agreement is expected to come into effect on 1 August. (NJ, USA)

Leading UK supplier office2office (o2o) has acquired Accord Office Supplies, an £11 million ($21.5 million) office supplies business based in Swindon in the south-west of England. Accord, which recently integrated independent dealer File-It into its operations, will continue to trade as a separate business under its existing management team. o2o’s CEO Simon Moate said: "This acquisition is consistent with our aim to broaden our customer base in the mid-market sector. This is o2o’s second acquisition in a matter of weeks following the takeover of TripleArc, the £45 million print management business, in May. (Norwich, UK)

US independent dealer MyOfficeProducts is forging ahead with its acquisition strategy despite soft market conditions. The latest acquisition is Baltimore-based Chesapeake Office Supply, a 22-year-old dealer with sales of $8.5 million. The move, MyOfficeProducts’ seventh acquisition, brings the Nashville-based dealer into its 40th market in 15 states and pushes its total sales up to the $100 million mark. The firm says it is on track to achieve its target of becoming one of the largest independent dealers in the US – with $125 million in sales – by 2009. (TN, USA)
Three dealers – HGS of Leighton Buzzard, One Stop Supplies, which operates in London and Birmingham, and Bristol-based Origin – are merging to create a new £12 million ($23 million) dealer under the name United. A new centralised back-office and logistics system will run nationally, whilst keeping local, personal sales and support teams. The dealers say that the enhanced business will allow for accelerated growth plans and a focus on becoming a total service provider in the medium to large marketplace. (Bristol, UK)

Haley Office Equipment has merged with Louisville-based OfficeWare, an award-winning provider of document management and print solutions.
The merger will add several hundred customers to OfficeWare’s existing client base in Marion and will greatly increase the firm’s revenue and presence in the marketplace. The combined companies will operate under the OfficeWare banner. OfficeWare’s current staff and equipment will be relocated to Haley’s headquarters in Marion, Illinois, with key members of the team continuing to work with OfficeWare, including Founder Pat Haley. "It was time for me to hand the reins over," Haley said. "I will be retained as a major account salesman and am very grateful." (IL, USA)

Latvian office supplies company Biroja Standarts has acquired 100 percent of Lithuania-based Stampline Office System. Stampline is one of the biggest office supplies companies in Lithuania and the move marks the continuation of Biroja’s development strategy in the Baltic region. Earlier in the year, it acquired 15-year-old Latvian supplier Balta. It also plans to start up operations in Estonia by the end of this year. On the Stampline acquisition, Biroja Standarts’ Chairman Vilnis Melkerts, commented: "Joining the best practices and experience of both companies in the office supplies business in Lithuania and Latvia, as well as in the office equipment sales and AV solutions business in Latvia, will enable faster development, a strengthening of market position and even more mutually favourable co-operation with suppliers for both companies." (Riga, Latvia)