Acer Buys 75 Percent of Packard Bell

Taiwanese PC vendor Acer has purchased 75 percent of the parent company of European electronics maker Packard Bell for US$45.8 million, Acer said in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange Thursday.

The deal effectively seals Acer's bid to keep Chinese rival Lenovo from acquiring Packard Bell and gaining a foothold in Europe, where Acer enjoys strong sales.

Acer made the purchase with the help of another company it acquired recently, Gateway. The U.S. company held the right to counter any offer for Packard Bell if it entered into talks with a third party, which Packard Bell did by speaking with Lenovo. In October, Gateway made a binding offer to buy shares from the largest shareholder in PB Holdings Co., Packard Bell's parent company.

That deal went through Wednesday, the Acer statement said. The company purchased 500 common shares of PB Holdings, in addition to 30,000 Class B convertible preferred equity certificates (CPECs) and 7,000 class C CPECs.

Stock market analysts have argued that buying Packard Bell is a waste of time for Acer because the company is already strong in Europe. But industry researchers, and Forrester in particular, argue the move staved off a Lenovo ploy that might have hurt Acer in there.

Acer bought Gateway last year for US$710 million.

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