Fujitsu pays €450m to buy out Siemens’ share in joint venture

5 Nov 2008

Fujitsu is to pay €450m to acquire Siemens’s 50pc stake in their joint venture, Fujitsu Siemens Computers (FSC), after nearly a decade in business together.

FSC was established on 1 October 1999 as a 50-50 joint venture based in Maarssen, the Netherlands. In just a decade, the company has established a leading position in the EMEA market for IT infrastructure, earning a reputation for quality and innovation in the server, PC and data storage fields.

“Fully integrating FSC into the Fujitsu Group fits perfectly into our global growth strategy,” said Kuniaki Nozoe, president of Fujitsu.

“We’re inheriting a strong customer base in EMEA and an R&D capability that can support our global products development – not to mention a tremendously talented group of employees who share our values and commitment to grow with our customers as their trusted business partner.”

He said Fujitsu will continue to focus on the strategic sectors of energy, industry and healthcare.

“We are happy that our joint-venture partner Fujitsu will acquire our stake in Fujitsu Siemens Computers, and will take the company to its next level of success,” added Joe Kaeser, Siemens’s chief financial officer.

Under the share-purchase agreement signed between the companies, Fujitsu will acquire Siemens’s stake for approximately €450m. The companies plan to close the transaction on 1 April 2009, after approval from relevant government agencies.

FSC will continue to operate as a joint venture until the transaction is completed.

Fujitsu and Siemens also announced that the CEO and president of FSC, Bernd Bischoff, has resigned for personal reasons. Kai Flore, chief financial officer of FSC, has been appointed the new CEO and president of the company.

In a global economy, consolidation is key, said Ovum senior analyst Ian Brown, who believes as one global brand Fujitsu will be better placed to act as one global product provider.

“Primarily operating in the European market, FSC had arrangements with Fujitsu North America to sell its PCs and x86 servers in the US market, but it has never been a comfortable relationship, and Fujitsu has never become a leading PC or server vendor outside of Japan and Europe – the latter through FSC.

“The Fujitsu-Siemens brand meant nothing to US customers (FSC couldn’t sell there directly), and even under the plain Fujitsu brand, the PCs and x86 servers have struggled to make an impact in the key North American market.

“By acquiring the Siemens stake in FSC, and bringing the European computer vendor wholly under its own control, Fujitsu is now in a better position to build a single, global IT hardware business, designing, manufacturing and using suppliers in locations where it makes most economic sense,” Brown said.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years