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Getronics sold off in KPN shake-up

Alex Scroxton

Systems integrator Getronics International has been sold by its Dutch owners, KPN, as the telco retrenches in its domestic market.

The 2,900-strong European and APAC operation has already been picked up for an undisclosed sum by Germany-based industrial holding and investment company Aurelius, although KPN remains a long-term strategic partner via a minority stake in the unit, which made sales of €450m (£374m) last year.

KPN is also understood to be in talks with private equity outfit OpenGate Capital to take charge of Getronics' Latin America business.

In a statement, Aurelius said it planned to utilise Getronics' "good starting point" and "together with the experienced management team, turn individual country operations into leading service providers in their markets".

Getronics, which is a major partner of, among others, Cisco, Dell and Microsoft, has struggled to gain traction in recent years. KPN bought the firm in 2007 but failed to build a coherent strategy around the business.

In the UK, persistent hints that Getronics' future in this country was uncertain caused the firm great pain during the last recession, and may have contributed to the loss in late 2009 of a major contract with Barclays.

TechMarketView analyst Richard Codling said he had "no doubt" that Getronics had good people and solutions, but said: "Fundamentally, it is a player which lacks the scale or differentiation in the market to grow."

"All of which underlines the perils of IT services for telcos, and indeed others that don't understand the mature nature of the market," he added.


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