Major acquisitions, significant executive movement, and a story that keeps on giving are among the year’s highlights.
You’ve heard of the 12 Days of Christmas. How about the office technology industry’s Top 12 Stories of 2019?
In celebration of the holidays, The Cannata Report is pleased to present a quick recap of the 12 biggest stories of the past year. Admittedly, we had a difficult time narrowing the list down to the top 12 stories, but after a lot of back and forth, these stories stood out. Note that this is a revised list and includes a story we initially overlooked when assembling this list.
- Staples acquires DEX: When a large dealer is acquired by an entity the size of Staples, it’s a big deal in so many ways. While the acquisition came as a surprise, what’s more surprising is just how quiet DEX has been since the acquisition. It wouldn’t surprise us if Staples acquires more dealers, creating a national dealer network with DEX as the foundation.
- Xerox and HP: It’s déjà vu all over again for Xerox with what seems to be a never-ending story. Last year it was the on again off again deal for Fuji Xerox, this year it’s the saga with HP. Ironically, that story began a day after Xerox and FujiFilm Holdings settled on the fate of Fuji Xerox. Whatever is going on currently between HP and Xerox, there still seems to be no end in sight as we approach the end of the year. Here’s a safe prediction, this will be a top story in 2020 as well.
- Doug Albregts named president of Marco: What a coupe for Marco. What good fortune for Albregts. It’s great to have him back in the industry.
- Jeff Jacobson joins EFI as President & CEO: Things did not go according to plan when Guy Gecht stepped down as president & CEO and was succeeded by Bill Muir in 2018. That change didn’t even last a year. In August it was announced that former Xerox CEO Jeff Jacobson was succeeding Muir. Goes to show you can’t keep a good man down or out of this industry.
- Ricoh acquires DocuWare: Software companies have become attractive acquisition targets for the OEMs and Ricoh picked up a significant player in the ECM/document management space with DocuWare.
- Flex Technology Group (FTG) Continues to Grow in a Big Way: The big just keep getting bigger. FTG acquired a total of six dealers in 2019 with combined revenue of $90 million. No one could top that in 2019.
- Kelley Imaging Systems Buys Lots of Dealers: At last count, it was eight as the Kent, Washington-based dealership expands its presence in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Yes, these are smaller dealers that Kelley Imaging Systems is acquiring, but as we noted in our December-January Cannata Watch List issue, this is a company to watch in 2020 based on its 2019 acquisitions activity.
- Clover Imaging Group acquired by Norwest Equity Partners: There was a lot of talk the past two years about Clover Imaging Group’s (CIG’s) financial problems. It seems those problems are going away thanks to the deep pockets of Norwest Equity Partners (NEP). Despite its financial issues, even before it was acquired, CIG had purchased the assets of LMI and CIG CEO Jim Cerkleski was talking about making more acquisitions. Coincidentally, NEP also owns Marco although we’ll hold off on any speculation as to what that means for now. But it is something to think about.
- Continuum acquired by ConnectWise: Could this be a harbinger of things to come in the Managed Services space? Those who closely track that space think so. It was a surprise to see this deal go down shortly after Continuum’s Navigate Conference in Las Vegas where ConnectWise was an exhibitor.
- Dion Weisler steps down as HP, Inc. president and CEO, replaced by Enrique Lores: After Weisler resigned, reportedly for personal reasons, Lores was the most logical successor and immediately began a restructuring of the company that resulted in some 9,000 layoffs worldwide. WOne might have thought HP was being positioned to be sold. As far as current press reports go, HP and Lores still have no interest in the Xerox offer.
- EFI acquired by Siris Capital: Private equity is making its mark on all segments of the channel and with the acquisition by an affiliate of Siris Capital for approximately $1.7 billion EFI joined the private equity-owned club.
- Xerox rebrands Global Imaging Systems as Xerox Business Solutions: This was a painful rebranding for several entrepreneurs who sold to Global in the past decade as their businesses were consolidated into other Xerox Business Solutions organizations. Some of those entrepreneurs were then given their walking papers as were some of their employees as the result of the consolidation. As iconic as the Global name had become in the office technology industry, it was only a matter of time before Xerox would rebrand it as a Xerox organization.
Because we’re in a giving mood this holiday season, we can’t help but add four additional stories to our Top 12.
- Security Goes Wider and Deeper: For anyone in this industry wanting to get a foot in the door, there is no better way to do that than talking about security. Most networked products introduced today have a security component, which is an asset to any dealer selling those products.
- UBEO Keeps Acquiring. This private equity-backed company also did its part on the acquisitions front in 2019 with six acquisitions.
- PRINTING United a Huge Success: This first-time event dedicated to the production and industrial print markets exceeded expectations not only for us at The Cannata Report but the OEMs exhibiting at this conference.
- Allen Waugerman Named Lexmark President & CEO: Will the third time be a charm? After its last two presidents and CEOs left after short stints in that position, earlier this year Lexmark announced that its board of directors has unanimously selected Allen Waugerman as Lexmark president and CEO.
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