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On June 9th, 2023, Imaging Business Machines LLC (ibml), a global market leader in high volume, mission-critical digitization, and intelligent document processing (IDP) solutions, announced the acquisition of Exela Technologies’ IntelliScan Smart Scanning Solutions. The acquisition provides ibml with an enhanced portfolio of products and expanded service coverage to meet high-volume digitization needs of customers. According to the press release, ibml will acquire the assets of the high-volume scanner and North America hardware maintenance business of Exela Technologies and, ibml will continue to offer IntelliScan customers a complete suite of scanning products and services. Through this acquisition ibml extends its leadership position as a provider of high-volume intelligent document process solutions.

Infosource classifies High Volume Production scanner devices as with a scan speed >150ppm and an average selling price >$30K.  In 2022 ibml was the market leader in the High-Volume Production Scanner segment in North America, ibml’s share was 41.8% up 5.1% year over year. This can be attributed to the success of their FUSiON 7300/7400 series introduced in March 2020.

Figure 1: North America HV Scanner Market Share 2022

Narrowing the market another increment, Exela and ibml have been long-time competitors in the ultra-high-volume (UHV) sub-segment of the market where rated scanning speeds can run up to several hundred pages per minute. Both vendors have devices designed with open-track paper paths designed to handle mixed batches of documents and be utilized in payment processing environments and other complex workflows. Inline recognition capabilities can be used to capture data during the scanning process as well as provide information for sorting documents into separate pockets.

Infosource Insight

The acquisition further cements ibml as the leader in the UHV scanner sub-segment. Inotec and Alaris also offer some very fast scanners with limited outsorting options, but as far as being to able handle mixed batches with multiple outsort options, only Primagest and OPEX have truly competitive option,.

ibml has been majority owned by an equity investment firm since 2007 and this is the first acquisition the company has made. Could it lead to more?

This is the second instance of HW consolidation we have seen in the past month. The first was the joint venture between Ricoh and Toshiba for print and MFP products. With hardware volumes declining, this type of consolidation makes sense, and we expect to see more.

The consolidation of ibml and Exela could also open the door for OPEX to continue to move upstream or Primagest to expand geographically for customers looking for an alternative vendor. This acquisition was as close to a natural fit as one can have in the market. There is really quite a bit of overlap when it comes to functionality and customer base and putting the two operations together will improve efficiencies related to manufacturing, sales, marketing and support. As the market for these types of devices is fairly flat, acquisition was also the most efficient way for ibml to increase its market share.

For more complete analysis of this acquistion please reach out to one of the authors of this report: Barbara Richards, senior analyst for HW, the Americas, [email protected]; Ralph Gammon, senior analyst, software, [email protected].

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