IBM, Lenovo deal gets go-ahead

Users claim it is business as usual with the sale of IBM's PC division to Lenovo of China resulting in minimal disruption to local customers.

Last week the US government approved the $US1.75 billion deal and IBM Australia confirmed local PC division staff are currently transferring to Lenovo with no redundancies.

Lenovo is planning its launch in Australia to continue serving local customers such as the Health Insurance Commission and departments of education and training in both Victoria and NSW.

Victoria's Department of Education and Training group manager of business and technology Katrina Reynen said the deal hasn't had a huge impact as the department already has contracts with IBM.

"IBM has reinforced its commitment to [product] delivery and roadmaps," Reynen said.

She said the department is "extremely happy" with the quality of IBM PCs and notebooks and sees no change in that now the Lenovo deal is sealed.

"We regularly reassess the situation and our relationship with IBM has been good," she said. "I don't see this deal as an impediment to future contracts.

We expect to have a good relationship with Lenovo." Reynen said IBM has been proactive in providing feedback.

IBM's general manager of personal systems group for Australia and New Zealand, Alan Munro, said the deal makes Lenovo the third largest PC company in the world.

"We've made sure our customers know as much as possible. It's business as usual," he said.

Although conceding that large mergers and sales are not always smooth, Munro said the deal is on track for a second quarter closure and there have been no redundancies.

While the deal passed US Federal Trade Commission antitrust laws in early January, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), decided in late January to investigate whether the Chinese government would be able to use IBM's government contacts for espionage.

CFIUS delivered its decision, in advance of a deadline, that the merger does not threaten national security.

With Johan Bostrom.

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