Acer is looking at buying Gateway as a means to shore up its weak position in the US market, company insiders are saying. Recently Gianfranco Lanci, president of Acer, said an acquisition is one option the company is considering but that the company is in no hurry.
An acquisition target needs to complement Acer, and as such, doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be a notebook maker, claimed Lanci, who also has a passion for sponsoring sporting events.
Another company in Acer’s sights is BenQ, a company that was once part of the Acer stable. However BenQ executives, many who are ex Acer management, say that a sale to Acer would be the “last resort”. “This is just a change in terms of perspective,” Lanci told reporters at the annual CeBIT trade show in Hanover, Germany.
Until recently, Acer which started a notebook war in Australia last year that it is now regretting due to a lack of profitability, was committed to expanding its PC business through growth alone. “We started to realise that to grow organically may be okay, but we are today in the position that the possibility of an acquisition is not rejected 100 percent as it was in the past,” Lanci said, noting this change in thinking occurred over the last six to 12 months.
That change became apparent earlier this week when The Wall Street Journal newspaper quoted Acer Chairman J.T. Wang, saying the company planned to make a meaningful acquisition this year and is looking at potential candidates.
“This does not mean that we are going to do an acquisition in the next few weeks,” Lanci said. Lanci has some experience with acquisitions: He came to Acer in 1997 with the acquisition of Texas Instrument’s notebook PC division. That acquisition laid the foundation for Acer’s successful notebook PC business today.
Any future acquisition by Acer would have to help the company meet its aim of overtaking rival Lenovo Group to become the world’s third-largest PC vendors this year. Lanci said the company is well on its way to meeting this goal, and believes Acer may have taken the No. 3 spot during the first quarter, which ends later this month.