Lexmark sells inkjet tech to Funai Electric

Lexmark printers
Inkjets out, lasers stay

Lexmark has sold off its inkjet printing technology to Japanese consumer electronics firm Funai Electric.

It announced the completion of the sale, under which Funai acquires more than 1,500 inkjet patents, for approximately $100 million.

While Lexmark remains in laser printers, the move marks its intent to focus on higher value scanning and software technology. In recent months it has bought a number of companies, including BDGD Enterprise, which has the Brainware intelligent data capture platform, and Nolij Corporation, which develops web based document imaging and workflow software.

Late last year it launched a range of printers and multifunction products with process and content management apps.

Paul Rooke, Lexmark's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: "As we continue our transition to becoming a leading end-to-end solutions provider, this transaction essentially completes our exit from the ownership of inkjet-related assets, although we will continue to support our existing customer base with the sale of inkjet supplies."

Lexmark said it will continue to provide support for existing customers of inkjet products.

The move gives Funai the ability to manufacture and sell inkjet hardware along with relevant supplies under its own name. It has been manufacturing hardware for Lexmark since 1997.

It is better known as a supplier of consumer electronics, selling under different brands to big retail chains in the US. Tomonoori Hayashi, Funai's President and Chief Executive Officer, said it plans to grow its own inkjet business.