Tue, Jul 24, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Acer shares jump on Packard Bell buyout speculation

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Shares of Acer Inc, the world's fourth-largest personal computer maker, rose yesterday after local press reported it was going to buy smaller European rival Packard Bell BV.

Acer's shares jumped 4.8 percent to close at NT$74.6 (US$2.30) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

"We can't offer comments on the matter," Henry Wang (汪島雄), senior public relations director at Acer, said by telephone yesterday. "There may be some changes going on in the deal ? We can't guarantee when exactly we will be able to announce the details."

Citing sources from European channels, the Chinese-language newspaper Apple Daily reported yesterday that the Taiwanese maker would make an announcement before September that it would buy Packard Bell, a private PC maker based in Wijchen, the Netherlands.

Packard Bell has a strong foothold in some European markets, including France, Portugal and the UK. These will complement Acer which is well established in markets such as Germany and Italy, the report said.

Packard Bell is currently the No. 3 player in the European consumer PC market and is also expanding into emerging markets in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, its Web site showed.

"The rumored buyout may balance Acer's portfolio in terms of the Asia-Pacific market," said Amy Teng (鄧雅君), an analyst at Gartner Inc.

In Asia, Acer is strong in the consumer sector as well as the small and medium-sized business sector, while Packard Bell has a presence in the commercial sector. A deal should therefore benefit the Taiwanese maker, she said.

Acer, which overtook China's Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想) in the first quarter to become the world's No. 3 PC maker, dropped back to fourth place in the second quarter, recent statistics from International Data Corp showed.

Acer chairman Wang Jeng-tang (王振堂) told investors in late April that the company was set to acquire a smaller firm in the PC industry within the next "three to five months," in a bid to maintain the firm's growth momentum.

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