News | June 5, 2008

Vertical Lift: Brother Buys Pentax Mobile Solution Lines

Brother
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Brother International inked a deal to acquire two Pentax mobile solution product lines from Hoya Group for an undisclosed amount, Brother said on Monday.

The Pentax mobile solution business generated $14M in its last fiscal year, ending March 31, 2008. The Hoya Group acquired Pentax at the end of March.

Brother is taking on the Pentax PocketJet Ultra-Portable printer line and the Pentax DSmobile 600 scanner, both of which target vertical markets. Bridgewater, N.J.-based Brother intends to use the products to help beef up its specialty printing solutions portfolio.

"The biggest thing for us, first of all, is getting into the field service area on the printing side, which is an area that we don't address today. We're mainly doing small office, midsize office and the home market with our printer line," said Joe Ashcraft, vice president of sales, Brother International Corp.

"This complements the line and gives us a different market. These printers are mainly designed for in-vehicle use like for police, route drivers, utilities that need to have an 8 1/2- x 11-inch solution. It usually goes with a notebook as a total solution," Ashcraft said. "It broadens our ability to go into that market, and they do a great job with it. We re getting some expertise from their side, too, on how to build this type of product and how to put a total packaged solution together, which is not our expertise today."

Pentax is already well-known in the channel, Ashcraft said, and Brother intends to keep it channel-focused. Partners, he said, will see more support than they were getting from Pentax, which doesn't have a print-centric focus. "We have a lot more resources than they were able to dedicate to this area. That's probably the biggest thing [that will change for our partners]. We'll be able to broaden the product line. Improve the product line. There are some things that are obvious to us that can be relatively quickly improved with the way the product is built, and [partners are] going to a see a lot more support," Ashcraft said.

The Pentax group is expected to be based in Golden, Colo. The deal is expected to close July 31.

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