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Computacenter customers face uncertainty as founders seek buy-out

Arif Mohamed

Customers of Computacenter, one of the UK's largest IT equipment and service providers, face a period of uncertainty as the company's founders look intent on buying out the company and taking it private.

Last week, Computacenter, which has £2bn a year revenues, rejected a buyout offer of 255p a share, from the company's founders. However, a subsequent offer is likely to be successful, according to Richard Holway, director at analyst firm Ovum Holway.

Some customers were likely to benefit from such a move, he said. "Computacenter will probably take a longer term view and make more investment in the services side of the business," said Holway.

However, he added that Computacenter might "get rid of some of the loss-making activities", such as hardware services, and that this would affect other users.

"Computacenter has to restructure - and it has got to move more into managed services and infrastructure services," said Holway. "Mike Norris (CEO) has tried to do this [get more into services] for five years, but the conventional business declines even faster."

Over the past two years, Computacenter shares have more than halved. In the same period key suppliers such as Hewlett Packard have renegotiated their deals with the company. However, users have benefited from lower computer prices, with PCs selling for as little as £300.

 

 


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