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Ricoh to Acquire mindSHIFT Technologies (Commentary by Richard Romano)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Press release from the issuing company

Editor's Note:  See below for special commentary from Richard Romano

MALVERN, PA - Ricoh today announced that the company has reached an agreement to buy mindSHIFT Technologies Inc., a leading provider of managed IT, cloud, data center and professional services to small and mid-sized organizations, from Best Buy Co., Inc. The acquisition is the latest strategic investment by Ricoh to expand and deepen its services portfolio.

mindSHIFT, a top Managed Services provider in the U.S. for small and mid-sized businesses (SMB), works with more than 6,900 clients in major markets throughout the country. The company's IT Services capabilities and comprehensive Managed Services offerings will help Ricoh continue to drive value to existing customers through expanded services offerings as well as support Ricoh's growth as a provider of IT Services.

The addition of mindSHIFT's nationwide expertise and customer service professionals will bring a wide array of benefits to the customers Ricoh is currently serving through its proven services organization of more than 8,000 specialists.

"With the addition of these highly skilled engineering and customer-facing resources to our existing services organization, Ricoh can now offer a greatly enhanced range of services for its customers," said Martin Brodigan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Ricoh Americas Corporation. "We are very much looking forward to working with our small and medium-sized customers to maximize these combined capabilities to their greatest benefit."

"At mindSHIFT, we are proud to have the most comprehensive IT Services portfolio for small and mid-sized business customers in the industry and are excited to become a part of the Ricoh family. With Ricoh's keen focus on business customers, their leadership position in the small and mid-sized business space and our common philosophy in delivering innovative ways to solve technology challenges, we believe we can deliver even more value to customers together," said Mona Abutaleb, President and Chief Executive Officer of mindSHIFT Technologies. "We're excited about what this acquisition means to our customers; the impact of having a well-respected brand like Ricoh tied to our market leadership will bring great benefits to current and new customers around the country."

mindSHIFT brings their experience in the general business market, in addition to legal, healthcare, financial services, associations and non-profits, and education markets, areas complementary to Ricoh's proven expertise and experience.

mindSHIFT will continue to operate under its current name, management team and capabilities, which currently include 650 employees at offices in Boston, Chicago, Long Island, N.Y., Minneapolis, Morrisville, N.C., New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and Dallas, TX.

The acquisition is expected to close in February 2014 at which time mindSHIFT will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Ricoh.


Commentary by Richard Romano

Ricoh announced that it had reached an agreement to buy mindSHIFT Technologies Inc., a provider of managed IT, cloud, data center and professional services to small and mid-sized organizations, from Best Buy Co., Inc. The acquisition is the latest in an increasing trend to offer customers “one stop shopping” for a variety of business needs. 

“We have done a lot of investment around IT services, and we’ve been on the hunt for an IT services acquisition,” says Tracey Rothenberger, EVP and COO of Ricoh Americas. “Our customers are asking for managed desktop, managed servers, virtual servers, virtual storage, cloud hosting—all of the various services that mindSHIFT offers.”

The mindSHIFT acquisition and its emphasis on IT services falls into one of three categories of services that Ricoh has been seeking to add, the other two being managed services (fleet management and other on-site value-added capabilities) and professional services (consultative-type services to help reengineer various information flows). 

Mr. Rothenberger sees the acquisition of services something that is taking place in many different industries, not just graphic communications. The key for Ricoh is to be very deliberate about the services they add and offer. “Moving information from paper to digital, getting information into some form that’s usable,” he says. “Services that are just very natural adjacencies to our core business. There are some industries that are out trying to buy any type of business that is a ‘services’ business. We have a very defined strategy.” 

MindSHIFT was founded more than 15 years ago, and has won accolades for its IT services and customer service. (Best Buy had acquired mindSHIFT in 2011 for $167 million to complement its Geek Squad and Best Buy For Business offerings for small and mid-size businesses.) This made it an appealing buy for Ricoh.

“They have a fantastic reputation, says Rothenberger. “They know what they do well, and they stay true to that. They have a great set of engineering resources, more than 500 highly skilled engineers, clearly defined portfolios, and they know how to execute.

“For current or potential customers, what they keep asking for is for Ricoh to be an all-encompassing supplier of technology and services for their business,” he adds. “The biggest advantage is we can come in with a comprehensive set of services and tools that deal with their voice systems, their IT systems, printing and document management systems and weave it all together into a nice bundle that’s cost-effective and that’s delivered with high expectations that no one else in the industry is going to be able to touch.”

MindSHIFT will continue to operate under its current name, management team and capabilities, which currently include 650 employees at offices in 11 cities around the United States. The acquisition is expected to close in February 2014 at which time mindSHIFT will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Ricoh.

 

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