Acer officially lands Packard Bell

Several months after publicly bickering over the small European PC maker with rival Lenovo, Acer adds Packard Bell to its growing arsenal.

Through a rather circuitous route, Acer finally brought home the prize it had long been eyeing: European PC vendor Packard Bell.

The Taiwan-based computer maker officially purchased 75 percent of Packard Bell parent company PB Holdings for $48.5 million, according to a statement made to the Taiwanese Stock Exchange Thursday, PC World is reporting.

Acer has been the fastest growing PC company in the world over the last year, rising through the ranks to become the No. 3 PC vendor at the end of 2007, with 8.9 percent of the overall market, according to research firm Gartner.

It's also set about making its presence known, scooping up U.S. PC maker Gateway in August for $710 million, and declaring its intentions to snatch Packard Bell even when rival Lenovo also publicly expressed interest. Buying Gateway was key for Acer to get the much-smaller Packard Bell, since Gateway possessed the right of first refusal, or right to make any counter offer if another company tried to buy it.

Why Acer wanted the small PC maker with a negligible market presence outside Europe so badly seemed puzzling to some initially. Now the move is seen as a smart defensive strategy to block any attempts by rival Lenovo from increasing its presence in Europe.

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