Acer's offer for parent scuttles Lenovo's plan to buy Packard Bell

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 October, 2007, 12:00am

Acer, the Taiwan computer maker, has dashed mainland rival Levono Group's hopes of expanding into the European market by acquiring Packard Bell after its United States-based subsidiary made a binding offer for Packard Bell's parent company.

Gateway, which Acer acquired for US$710 million in August, has delivered what it described as 'a binding offer' to acquire all shares of PB Holding, Packard Bell's parent, from John Hui Lap Shun and his privately held firm Clifford Holdings.

The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and expected to close in the fourth quarter or early next year, according to Gateway.

Financial terms were not made available.

Gateway's move slammed the door shut on Hong Kong-listed Lenovo, which in August entered into exclusive negotiations with Mr Hui on the proposed acquisition.

Acer, which has agreed to fund Gateway's acquisition of PB Holding and Packard Bell, will further strengthen its status as the world's third-largest personal computer supplier after the deal.

Lenovo now ranks fourth in the world.

Wong Chi-man, an analyst at China Everbright Research, said Lenovo's failed bid would not have any significant impact on the company.

'Lenovo is already working on attaining organic growth. The company has launched its transaction business model in North America, various European countries and in some Asian markets,' Mr Wong said.

'Its focus should continue to be on stabilising its performance in overseas markets.'

Hugues Gontier, Packard Bell's marketing and communications director, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Lenovo also declined to comment.

Mr Hui, a Chinese American who owns 75 per cent of PB Holdings, bought Packard Bell last year from Japan's NEC for an undisclosed sum.

Gateway at the time waived certain non-compete arrangements related to Mr Hui's purchase in exchange for the first right of refusal to buy Packard Bell should the company be made available for sale.

Gateway has previously indicated it would exercise its right to acquire Mr Hui's indirect interest in Packard Bell.