IBM launches printer spin-off

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IBM launches printer spin-off

Company formally severs printing operation.

A new company formed from IBM's printing division has begun operation as a separate entity.

InfoPrint Solutions Company (IPS) was www.vnunet.com in January, when IBM revealed that it would partner with Ricoh to spin off its Printing Systems Division into a new company that would progressively be absorbed into Ricoh.

The new firm will launch with IBM's backing. Big Blue will continue to offer IPS products to its customers and will provide support for the new company, which will inherit a customer base that brought more that US$1 billion (A$1.1 billion) dollars in revenue last year. IBM also expects that as many as 1,000 of its employees may move.

"With this launch, we have created a billion-dollar enterprise with the backing of two undisputed industry leaders, IBM and Ricoh. Together, we will drive the next generation of innovation in output solutions," said former IBM Printing Systems head Tony Romero, who will serve as chief executive of IPS.

Ricoh has paid IBM US$725 million (A$868 million) for a 51 per cent stake in IPS, as well as prepayment for the remaining 49 per cent to be acquired and "certain royalties and services" to be provided by IBM. The 49 per cent stake will be transferred over the coming three years. 

Ricoh hopes that the acquisition will allow the company to tap into IBM's status as an enterprise computing heavyweight and give the printing company access to Big Blue's vast customer base.

"Today is an historic moment both for IBM and Ricoh and more importantly, an industry first," declared Norio Tanaka, corporate senior vice president of the Production Printing Business Group at Ricoh.

"The creation of Infoprint Solutions Company brings together the best of two industry leaders, and greatly enhances the Ricoh portfolio of offerings."
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