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Lexmark Acquires Acuo

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Lexmark Inc. (LXK) announced that it has acquired Acuo Technologies, LLC -- a provider of software and services for clinical content management, data migration and vendor neutral archives (:VNA) -- for $45.0 million.

Acuo will be integrated into Perceptive Software, a unit of Lexmark. The combination of Lexmark and Acuo Technologies will provide a single, enterprise-wide platform to improve clinical content using any electronic medical record (EMR) system. This is expected to strengthen the grip that Lexmark already has on the healthcare market.

Lexmark has always been active on the acquisition front. The company is prudent about refurbishing its revenue model by focusing more on software than hardware. This was clearly the rationale behind its last four acquisitions. In March 2012, the company took over Luxembourg-based software company BDGB Enterprise, along with its U.S. subsidiary Brainware Inc., Australia-based ISYS Search Software and Boston-based Nolij Corp.

Moreover, in October 2011, the company acquired Netherlands-based Pallas Athena. The acquisitions were made to strengthen its Perceptive Software segment. The new units will add skill sets such as search and text mining, web-based document imaging and workflow software, data capture, business process management (:BPM), document output management (DOM) and process mining software capabilities.

We believe that the acquisitions will support Lexmark’s Managed Printing Services (:MPS) business and introduce more higher-margin software-related businesses. The resultant revenue growth could even offset the revenue declines in the hardware business.

Until this happens however, Lexmark will be impacted by the narrowing scope for printing solutions due to increasing use of digital technology and e-commerce. The competitive climate is also not encouraging, given the strength of other major players, such as Xerox Corp. (XRX) and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ).

Currently, Lexmark has a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold).

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