HP Inc. officials are making a significant push to bolster the company's position in the $55 billion copier market.
They announced Sept. 12 that HP is buying Samsung Electronics' printing business for $1.05 billion, which comes days after reports surfaced of a possible deal between the two companies. In addition, HP expanded its portfolio of A3 multifunction printers (MFPs), another step in a space that company executives said that for decades has lacked innovation in areas of efficiency, security and color reproduction.
The goal is to drive that innovation by enabling enterprises to more easily replace copiers with MFPs.
"The complexity of traditional copiers makes repair and maintenance too inefficient for our partners and customers," Enrique Lores, president of imaging and printing at HP, said in a statement. "By leveraging our superior printing technology, we can change the status quo with next-generation A3 multifunction printers that improve the overall customer and partner experience while also serving as a springboard for growth in managed print and document services."
Both announcements were made on the first day of HP's Global Partner Conference in Boston.
The acquisition of Samsung's printer unit is the largest one by the company since it was created via the breakup of Hewlett-Packard in November 2015, an event that created Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), which sells enterprise IT solutions and services, and HP Inc. for printers and PCs. The goal of the split was to create two separate, more responsive and more nimble companies that could focus on their respective markets.
"We are doing this with 3D printing and the disruption of the $12 trillion traditional manufacturing industry, and now we are going after the $55 billion copier space," HP President and CEO Dion Weisler (pictured) said in a statement. "The acquisition of Samsung's printer business allows us to deliver print innovation and create entirely new business opportunities with far better efficiency, security and economics for customers."
HP is the top vendor worldwide in the hardcopy peripherals market, which includes single-function and multifunctional printers and single-function digital copiers. According to analysts with IDC, in the second quarter HP had 36.6 percent of the market, a drop from the 40.8 percent share it held during the same period in 2015. The company was followed by Canon, Epson and Brother. Samsung was in fifth, with 4 percent of the market. In the second-quarter 2015, Samsung's market share was 4.2 percent. Among the top five vendors, only Canon and Epson saw an increase in shipments year over year. HP's fell by 13.7 percent, while Samsung's dropped 8.9 percent.
Still, the company's printing business could use a boost. In the latest financial quarter, revenue declined 14 percent, to $4.42 billion.
The shedding of the printer unit is part of a larger push by Samsung to put more focus on its core businesses, such as mobile devices. According to company officials, the plan is to spin off the printing business into a separate company as of Nov. 1 and then sell the business to HP. Samsung will buy printers from HP and continue to sell the printers in its home country of Korea under the Samsung brand. According to HP officials, Samsung has agreed to buy $100 million to $300 million of HP printing equipment on the open market as an equity investment in HP.