Smooth transition for Wang, Getronics

When businesses merge it's usually the larger company that gets the spoils of victory. Not so the recent acquisition of network services giant Wang Global by Dutch company Getronics.

The deal, approved by the European Commission only weeks ago, has paved the way for the creation of a global services company worth almost $5 billion.

Wang Global has also assumed the Getronics brand name, enabling the company to further distance itself from its troubled past as bankrupt hardware manufacturer, Wang Laboratories.

However, while Wang Global may be no more, the name is about all that the company has lost, according to Mias van Vuuren, former president of Wang Global's international operations and a current member of Getronic's five-person management board.

"This is a clean brand, with no baggage," van Vuuren said. "Previously, all of our people had to battle through 10 minutes of explaining that 'No, we're not the bankrupt minicomputer company called Wang. We're the new Wang, the services company'."

Wang may have lost its tainted brand name, but it is Getronics (with net revenues of around $1.7 billion, compared to Wang Global's $3 billion) that agreed to adopt the business model of the larger company it acquired.

"Getronics has been bold enough to back-integrate its business into the Wang Global structures," van Vuuren said.

"Instead of forcing us to act like them, they are changing their company and using the old Wang Global model as the new company model."

According to van Vuuren, very little restructuring needs to be done, as there is "hardly any overlap" in the companies' services offerings or the countries in which they operate.

"Clearly, there will be some cost savings -- we don't need two head offices. But the complementary activities of the two companies is the reason why this acquisition has been so well supported," he said.

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