In a move that would have impressed the most Machiavellian politician, Acer has acquired Gateway and exercised a contractual clause under the deal that gives it first right of refusal to buy Packard Bell, a target of arch rival Lenovo.
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Consolidation in the global PC market continues after it emerged Acer has entered into an agreement with Gatway - the third largest PC vendor in the US according to IDC - to buy its retail business for $710m (£355m).
This comes less than a month after Lenovo announced plans to acquire Packard Bell, which would have been the second time in ten months the company changed ownership after John Hui bought it from NEC.
In a statement, Acer said Gateway had earlier revealed its intention to draw upon its first right of refusal to acquire from John Hui all the shares of PB Holding, the parent for Packard Bell.
Gianfranco Lanci, president of Acer did not comment on Packard Bell but said Gateway's product focus and geographical presence were complimentary to his organisation.
"We believe that our combined scale will lead to significant efficiencies...we will have the opportunity to implement an effective multi-brand strategy and cover all major market segments," he said.
Two years ago Gateway returned to the European PC retail market after pulling out of the region due to falling sales (Microscope 18 April 2005).
Sarah Shields, former Acer UK business unit manager, now director of international sales at Gateway said retail volumes continued to grow and the deal would "create a formidable force".
IDC data shows Acer sold over 8m and 1.5m PCs in EMEA and the US respectively last year to hold the third and seventh position in the markets. Gateway sold less than 170,000 units in EMEA and 4.4m in the US.
Lenovo refused to comment.