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Digesting Gateway and Packard-Bell

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Acer has pulled itself off the acquisition trail for the foreseeable future and will spend the next couple of years digesting Gateway and Packard Bell.

Acer reckons its integration plan for Gateway will be in place for November, with the combined company ready to hit the ground on 1 January.

The Taiwanese PC giant insists the deal will not cause upheaval in its channel, as Gateway has already ditched the direct model it once relied on.

The deal could see the Gateway brand re-enter Europe, though not necessarily the brand's former Western Europe stamping ground.

The Taiwan-based firm's $710m purchase of Gateway – with veteran consumer brand Packard Bell thrown in almost as an afterthought- is all but complete.

Acer president Gianfranco said the company had no plans to make any further acquisitions for the next 24 to 36 months. "I really don't see how we could think about another acquisition."

Lanci said the company already had an integration team in place drawing up plans for combining the firms. He said the parent intended to leverage all the knowledge and best practices in the acquired companies.

More tangibly, perhaps, he said the firm intended to keep all its brands. Given that Gateway also owns the eMachines brand, this gives it five established brands to play with.

However, in practice, the company will probably use not more than two brands in each country.

Lanci described Gateway and Packard Bell as mainly consumer brands.

Packard Bell looks set to be the vendor's consumer desktop brand in EMEA, with some presence in the US. This leaves the Acer badge on the firm's notebook products, and its business desktops and servers.

Gateway's heartland will remain in the US, but the brand could be rolled out in Eastern Europe, and its existing presence in China and Japan could be expanded. There doesn't seem to be any prospect of the firm's cow coloured boxes running in the streets of Europe any time soon.

Lanci refused to discuss how much the Packard Bell operation will cost Acer, except to say "We're not talking about hundreds of millions." ®

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