Japan's Ricoh buys office supplier Ikon for US$1.6 billion

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Japanese printer maker Ricoh plans to buy Ikon, the U.S. distributor of printing and copying equipment, in a deal worth US$1.6 billion, the companies announced Wednesday.

Ricoh said the deal would allow it to provide enterprises with a more complete line of printer and copy equipment. It also hopes the deal will help expand its reach to new geographies. Just under half of Ricoh's business comes from Japan, while Ikon operates primarily in the U.S. but also sells to Canada and Europe.

Ikon, which integrates copiers and printers with document management software from the likes of Captaris and eCopy, will operate as a subsidiary of Ricoh. In addition to the hardware and software products, Ikon also sells managed and professional services.

The boards of both companies have approved the deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals in the U.S., Canada and Europe. It must also win approval from Ikon shareholders. Ricoh expects the transaction to close in the fourth quarter, after which Ikon will continue to operate out of its Pennsylvania headquarters.

The office equipment market has been going through a wave of consolidation. Last year, Xerox bought Global Imaging Systems for $1.5 billion, and Konica Minolta earlier this year bought the U.S. subsidiary of Danka Business Systems for $240 million.

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