HP buys Samsung's printer business for $1 billion

Buying Samsung's printing business could reduce HP's reliance on Canon for laser printer technology

hp pagewide pro 477dw mfp printer

HP's PageWide Pro 477dw printer uses proprietary pigment ink.

Credit: HP

HP has a plan to offset its declining printer revenue: Buy the printing business of Samsung Electronics.

It hopes the deal, valued at $1.05 billion, will help enlarge its position in the market for photocopiers, which it values at $55 billion annually.

The key to this, HP says, is Samsung's portfolio of multi-function laser printers, capable of handling A3 paper.

Along with the printers, HP will also acquire a portfolio of 6,500 printing patents and a staff of 6,000, including 1,300 researchers and engineers.

In buying Samsung's laser printing expertise, HP could be seeking to reduce its reliance on Canon, which today supplies all HP's laser printer mechanisms and cartridges. Canon and HP said their existing partnership will continue, however.

Samsung is a minnow in the printing business compared to HP: Its printer revenue was less than one-tenth that of HP's in the last fiscal year.

Printing activities don't usually get a separate line in Samsung's annual reports, where they are grouped with its visual display, digital appliances and health and medical equipment businesses as part of its consumer electronics division.

However, on Monday the company said its printer business brought in 2 trillion Korean won (around $1.8 billion) in 2015.

HP reported revenue of $21.2 billion for its printing segment in the year to Oct. 31, 2015, shrinking at 8.5 percent year on year.

Now separated from Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP's revenue continues to decline. For the three months to July 31, it reported printing revenue of $4.4 billion, down 14 percent, out of total revenue of $11.9 billion.

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