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Minolta acquires the remainder of QMS

Minolta acquires the remainder of QMS

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Minolta has finalised a deal to acquire the remaining shares in printing vendor Minolta-QMS over the next four to six weeks.

However in Australia, the acquisition has already claimed one scalp - that of former Australian managing director Greg Newham, who was ousted from the post at the end of October.

The optical technology giant purchased 57 per cent of QMS in July last year, with QMS taking over Minolta's printer operations to form the Minolta-QMS printer division. The company will now become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Minolta worldwide network and will operate as a discrete business unit.

"Minolta-QMS will continue as a separate company, and Minolta has informed us that our independent spirit will not be compromised or sacrificed in any way as a result of this transaction," wrote Minolta-QMS president and CEO Shoei Yamana in a letter to the company's partners. "We will continue to use the Minolta-QMS name and Minolta has advised us that we will keep our management team."

Newham is the only executive to be left high and dry. His departure marks a staff shake-up within Minolta-QMS. Asia-Pacific managing director Stuart Drysdale will take the reins as the company spends the next few months restructuring its Australian operations.

"It doesn't mark a significant change," Drysdale told ARN, adding that the redundancy had been in the pipeline for some time. "We have looked at how to become a true region and at how to go forward. We have grown well in the last few months and opened offices in India, Singapore and Hong Kong.

"It is not a nice thing to happen but the upside is the company is moving forward," he added.

Minolta-QMS is also on the hunt for new Channel Sales managers and has promoted Rhonda Chandler to Distribution Sales manager for Australia and New Zealand.

Drysdale was instrumental in the company's push to build its brand awareness throughout Asia during his 18 months as Asia Pacific manager. He will now begin building Minolta-QMS brand locally, the first step being to hire a marketing executive to increase awareness of the company in the digital imaging market.

"We are still being run as a completely separate business unit and we report to the Minolta board. We are very happy with that," Drysdale said. "Minolta gives us good brand name material and we are hoping to take market share on three of its printing products over the next 12 months."

True to that aim, the company will launch a "cheeky" advertising campaign in the coming weeks to build product awareness. It will also cultivate its distribution channels, recruiting channel managers and moving for the first time into the Victorian market place.

Drysdale acknowledged resellers would play a crucial role in building product recognition for the company. "We already have brand position, we need to work on the recognition and to do that we have to assist the channel.

"Our product range fits across the spectrum, with an entry level offering at $549. That is very competitive, so we are not just high end."

Minolta announced plans to acquire the company in September at $6 per share in cash. A special committee composed of independent directors approved the scheme.


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