Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Ricoh's Sales Force just got Bigger

NEW YORK (Associated Press) - IKON Office Solutions, which sells and leases copiers, printers and other office machines, has agreed to be bought by one of its suppliers, Ricoh Co. of Japan, for $1.62 billion.

The cash offer of $17.25 per share represents a 33 percent premium to IKON's average stock price for the last two months, the company said. IKON shares closed Tuesday at $15.56.

The deal will combine IKON's sales and service capabilities with Ricoh's engineering and manufacturing expertise, IKON said. It follows an "extensive review of our strategic opportunities," said IKON Chairman and Chief Executive Matthew Espe in a statement.

IKON also sells and leases equipment from other companies, including Canon Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. It was not immediately clear if IKON will maintain its relationship with those companies.

The deal, which has been approved by the boards of both companies, is expected to close in the fourth quarter. As a subsidiary of Ricoh, IKON will keep its headquarters in Malvern, it said.

Separately, Ricoh said it will finance the deal with a mix of internal and external funding

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