Canon is buying Dutch printer vendor Oce for €730m, in a move that could herald further consolidation in the imaging market.
The Japanese giant will launch a tender offer for the Dutch firm's shares, in a deal which is being seen as broadening Canon's footprint in the higher end production printing market, and targeting fellow Japanese vendor Ricoh.
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Ricoh bought office kit reseller Ikon Office Solutions last year, giving the firm a massive distribution network to bolt on to its product manufacturing expertise.
That, together with the economic slump and its effect on company spending on document kit, is being seen as prompting the Canon/Oce deal.
"The deterioration of the economic market circumstances has influenced the performance of the industry, but it was not the initiator for the strategic review process which after thorough and careful evaluation lead to this proposal of joining forces with Canon," the New York Times quotes Oce CEO Rokus van Iperen as saying.
There are fewer manufacturers of printing engines than there are floggers of printing kit.
The New York Times says Oce sources the guts of its products from Konica Minolta. It doesn't take a top level analysis to see this deal being junked in favour of Canon kit.
More generally, user ire at the costs of printer consumables and increasing concerns about the environmental effects of rampant document production might be expected to restrict the industry's growth, providing further momentum for consolidation.
Bloomberg reports that executives had already spoken to Brussels and didn't anticipate any regulatory problems. ®