Global Imaging Systems (GIS) is consolidating the fragmented office equipment industry one acquisition at a time. The company sells and services products such as copiers, fax machines, printers, projectors, and conferencing equipment under such brands as Canon, Hewlett-Packard, InFocus, Konica, and Sharp. It also provides its customers -- principally businesses with fewer than 1,000 employees -- with network integration services and systems (network design, software, hardware). GIS operates from about 200 locations in more than 35 states and the District of Columbia. In 2007 the acquisitive firm was purchased by Xerox for about $1.5 billion and became a subsidiary of the technology products giant.
Since its inception in 1994, GIS has purchased more than 100 firms in a bid to build a nationwide network of local-based office technology suppliers. Most recently, the company in late 2011 purchased Merizon Group Incorporated, operating as MBM, based in Appleton, Wisconsin. Previously, GIS bought Xerographic Solutions, a Rochester, New York-based manager of print and network services and Bennett's Business Systems, a Jacksonville-based distributor of office printing products. The purchase closely followed that of Virginia-based Miller Technology Solutions, a managed services company that specializes in financial IT services. Those deals came on the heels of two previous 2011 acquisitions: Premier Office Equipment, a leading office equipment dealer in Iowa and United Business Solutions (UBS) of Addison, Illinois. UBS serves corporate customers in the Chicago metropolitan area, and it purchased the assets of Pensacola-based Florida Imaging & Network Systems. During 2010 GIS bought Georgia Duplicating Products of Macon, Georgia, and Affiliated Computer Services, a Dallas-based provider of business process outsourcing and IT services. In 2009 GIS purchased Akron, Ohio-based ComDoc, whose network extends to Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia.
GIS typically acquires companies at a rate of one or two a year and grows their services while expanding their geographic areas. Once critical mass is reached, the disparate divisions are often combined under one new company name. Such was the case in 2009 when GIS renamed its MWB Business Systems subsidiary to SoCal Office Technologies. The unit, which primarily serves companies in Southern California, was previously expanded through the acquisitions of Digitec, Pacific Office Solutions, and Advanced Business Systems, all based in the region.