Ricoh Is Buying Fujitsu’s Scanner Business
Armed with Fujitsu’s scanner tech, Ricoh has an impressive arsenal of digital workplace tools
Ricoh is purchasing an 80% stake in Fujitsu’s scanner business. PFU, the OEM behind Fujitsu’s document scanners, will become a consolidated subsidiary of Ricoh, and Fujitsu will retain a minority stake of 20% of all shares. Official word of the agreement came early on April 28th, just days after Nikkei Asia reported that the companies had struck a deal. While Nikkei Asia’s original reporting valued the deal at $625 million (¥80 billion yen), the Notice Regarding the Conclusion of the Share Acquisition of PFU Limited released by Ricoh says the deal is worth $641 million (¥84 billion yen). Ricoh plans to officially acquire the shares on July 1, 2022.
Ricoh was motivated to acquire a large share in PFU as part of its “Ricoh Lift Off” global strategy, which aims to transform the company into a digital services company. More specifically, Ricoh hopes to “expand its recurring revenue business by offering a combination of distinctive edge devices, business applications, and cloud platforms that enable the handling of special documents that are difficult to handle with existing MFPs.” The company also sees an opportunity to strengthen its IT management services in Japan and capitalize on production, purchasing, and development synergies between PFU’s Computer Products and Ricoh’s electronics businesses.
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
Ricoh isn’t just acquiring a trusted scanner brand and global market share leader. Fujitsu has a powerful portfolio of document scanners that can extend business process automation capabilities no matter where scanning occurs. Without a doubt, this strengthens Ricoh’s already robust office digitization portfolio, which is anchored by DocuWare and Ricoh Smart Integrations. The former provides businesses with document management and a business process automation platform, while the latter serves as an automated portal that streamlines the process of onboarding hardcopy documents into digital systems. With Fujitsu’s lineup of scanners, Ricoh will be able to offer an all-in-one process digitization and automation platform or manage the ecosystem for employees—a lethal combination that not many vendors can provide by themselves.
But the really interesting question is how does this deal affect the document scanner industry as a whole? There are two answers. In the short term, it won’t have much of an impact. Although there is an agreement in place, there are still a few months before Ricoh officially acquires the shares. And even after that, it’s going to take some time to integrate the companies.
In the longer term, though, we can expect this deal to make some ripples. Like Ricoh, Fujitsu does well in the enterprise space. With the addition of the premier enterprise scanning brand, Ricoh shouldn’t have trouble wowing its enterprise customers. Fujitsu also enjoys a strong presence in IT channels, especially when it comes to vertical markets. This should help complement Ricoh’s strength in the office equipment dealer channel, where it will have access to these new scanners as well as be able to promote Ricoh’s digital services strategy to Fujitsu’s channels and customer segments.
But it’s the SMB space that I've got my eye on. According to Keypoint Intelligence’s latest Scanner and Workflow IT Decision Maker Survey, roughly half of all businesses—with a disproportionate percentage in the SMB range—have 50% or less of their business processes digitized. But when you consider cloud solutions and managed services are removing the cost and complication barriers that once prevented SMBs from digitizing more of their business processes, and that 9 out of 10 IT Decision Makers expect to increase their capture spend over the next year, then one must wonder: Will Ricoh’s channel partners—known for their deep relationships with SMBs—be able to penetrate the SMB market with Fujitsu scanners? SMBs are cost-conscious and Fujitsu’s scanners aren’t known for low price tags. But with Ricoh’s plan to bundle these products into services, you have to wonder if bundling hardware, software, and services will enable dealers to obfuscate the cost of scanners within a subscription.
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