Ricoh Dumps Global Imaging

Xerox completed its $1.5 billion acquisition of Global Imaging Systems

The move, while not surprising, raises questions for some of the 200,000 small-to-midsize businesses that Global serves across the United States, as well as the thousands of local dealers and VARs that compete with Global's 21 core regional companies that sell and service printers, copiers and other document management systems.

As of May 31, all Ricoh contracts with Global are null and void, and the vendor will no longer recognize Global as an authorized dealer for its Ricoh, Savin and Gestetner brands, says Ricoh spokesman Russell Marchetta. Ricoh will still resell Global supplies and parts for three years, as per a contractual agreement, but it will not allow Global to resell its machines, Marchetta says.

A bigger question, though, remains around what will happen for Global's multiyear state and local government contracts. Ricoh says it will take over accounts it owns that were serviced by Global either through its direct arm, Ricoh Business Solutions, or by assigning it to another dealer. However, for contracts that Global Imaging owns, Global dealers will not be able to resell Ricoh products going forward.

Xerox, for its part, says its working to make the transition as easy as possible for customers.

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"The leadership team at Global Imaging Systems is working closely with all current suppliers to ensure that customer needs continue to be met now and in the long term. We are aware of Ricoh's recent decision and are actively engaged in discussions regarding transition plans," says Jim Firestone, president of Xerox North America, in an e-mail. "Our intent and commitment is to continue to provide all customers -- including small and midsize businesses, government agencies and others -- with the equipment, supplies and support they require."

Global had other existing relationships with copier and printer companies before it was acquired by Xerox, including Sharp Electronics and Konica Minolta.

Sharp will continue to sell Global products through at least April of 2008, as per its contractual agreement with Global. Konica Minolta executives could not be immediately reached.