Gateway Moves to Buy Packard Bell

Updated: The latest development comes as Acer is preparing its final offer to buy Gateway for $710 million.

Gateway has moved a step closer to buying Packard Bell.

Gateway, based in Irvine, Calif., is offering approximately $44 million for Packard Bell shares, according to an Oct. 9 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Gateway executives had confirmed on Oct. 8 that they would move ahead with an offer to buy Packard Bell, which is based in Paris and is one of the largest PC vendors in Europe.

The deal for Packard Bell comes as Acer is preparing to close its $710 million offer to buy Gateway. Acer, headquartered in Taiwan, announced last week that it will deliver its final offer for Gateway on Oct. 10, which means that the company will likely finalize the deal by the end of the month.

Even after Acer announced the Gateway acquisition Aug. 27, Gateway continued to pursue the Packard Bell deal. During that announcement, Gateway executives said they would pursue the option to purchase all the shares of PB Holding Company, the parent company of Packard Bell, which is controlled by Lap Shun (John) Hui. Gateway acquired the rights to bid for Packard Bell after Hui sold the privately held eMachines to Gateway in March 2004.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read more about Acers deal for Gateway.

The deal also means that Lenovo, which has been interested in Packard Bell to help expand its presence in Europe, wont get a chance to acquire the company. A spokesman for Lenovo could not be reached for comment late Monday.

Acer will finance Gateways acquisition of Packard Bell, which could close either late in the fourth quarter of 2007 or in the first quarter of 2008, according to the statement. The deal is subject to regulators in the United States and Europe.

When Acer completes the Gateway deal, the acquisition looks to create the worlds third largest PC vendor. The combined revenue of the two companies is expected to top more than $15 billion and their combined shipments will equal out to about 20 million desktops and laptops annually.

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