HP can proceed with its £380 million acquisition of the UK’s Apogee after European regulators cleared the deal today.
Announcing the deal this August, HP said the acquisition will help it “disrupt the $55 billion A3 copier market and build on its printing strategy”.
The deal is expected to close by the end of the year. After the close, Apogee will operate as an independent subsidiary, HP said.
Apogee – Europe’s largest print provider – has itself snapped up four companies in a venture capital-fuelled growth drive since 2016.
HP Apogee Acquisition Just the Start?
HP’s Enrique Lores, President, Imaging & Printing said in a conference call [pdf transcript] on October 3 that the Apogee acquisition is an attempt to tap a “profit pool in small companies”, adding that the company might make more acquisitions.
“We will be selecting them based on their ability to integrate solutions based on the talent of their management team and based on the value creation opportunity that we will see. The acquisition of the Apogee and we announced the intent of doing that in August is our first move in this direction.”
European Commission: No Competition Issues
The European Commission said that it found the overlap of the companies’ activities on the market for the supply of regular format printers was “very limited” and that a “number of strong players” would remain in the market post-merger.
“The Commission concluded that the merged entity would not have the ability, or incentive, to shut out competing suppliers of these products as there are many alternative players at both levels.”
HP earlier this month, in a fiscal 2019 outlook, said it estimates GAAP diluted net earnings per share (“EPS”) for fiscal 2019 of $2.04 to $2.14.
It added that it expects to return approximately 75 percent of fiscal 2019 free cash flow to shareholders through dividends and share repurchases, announcing a dividend increase of 15 percent.
On the conference call on October 3, Dion Weisler, President & Chief Executive Officer, said: “We’re accelerating the shift towards Managed Print Services and contractual business models. [In the print market] we’ve had, to put it mildly, an impressive year.”
He added: “Print Supplies have not only stabilized, but the business overall has been consistently growing for the past six quarters. This team is truly reinventing and igniting a print renaissance.”
HP’s total print revenue is up 12 percent year-to-date.