Miami, Florida-based distribution firm CHS Electronics Inc turns out to have been the victor in the battle with Ingram Micro Inc to acquire one of Europe’s last remaining PC makers, Vobis Microcomputer AG of Germany (CI No 3,445). CHS will pay around $320m to Vobis’ parent company Metro AG, for units that had net sales […]
Miami, Florida-based distribution firm CHS Electronics Inc turns out to have been the victor in the battle with Ingram Micro Inc to acquire one of Europe’s last remaining PC makers, Vobis Microcomputer AG of Germany (CI No 3,445). CHS will pay around $320m to Vobis’ parent company Metro AG, for units that had net sales equivalent to $2.3bn last year. Vobis has 813 stores in 11 European countries, sells 50,000 PCs monthly under its own-brand High Screen label, and generated sales of $1.2bn last year. The sale also includes three other Metro AG subsidiaries: Maxdata Computer GmbH, Peacock Systems GmbH and Vobis Assembly GmbH. Maxdata is responsible for another 50,000 PC sales in Europe under the Artist label, along with 150,000 monitors. Sales were $600m last year. Peacock is a PC distributor, the fourth largest in Germany, and sells IBM, HP and Intel PCs. Sales also hit $600m last year. And Vobis Assembly is a build-to-order company producing branded and private label PCs for the other three companies, with run rates of one million units a year. The purchase price includes $295m in cash and $25m stock, with an unspecified assumption of debt. Maxdata will form the core of CHS’ private label strategy, the company said. European PC makers have wilted in the face of strong competition from US PC makers, and the latest consolidation only carries forward a process that’s been ongoing over the last year or so. Ingram Micro has already acquired the assembly facilities of bankrupt Tulip Computer NV, and the PC retailer Macrotron AG from Tech Data Corp, which offloaded it after acquiring Computer 2000 AG, Europe’s largest PC products distributor, back in April (CI No 3,389). Siemens Nixdorf Informationssysteme AG and Ing C Olivetti Spa have both recently closed their PC manufacturing divisions. Despite booming sales at Vobis, profits plunged. CHS, which yesterday also announced the European Commission’s approval of its $88m acquisition of French distributor Metrologie International, says that economies of scale should help it drag the profit margins back up. CHS estimates that 1998 pro forma sales in Europe will total $7.5bn – 20% higher than its closest rival – pushing worldwide pro-forma sales up to $12bn.