Chinese PC maker Lenovo has seen its ambitions to become a Top Three global player stymied by Acer of Taiwan. As many industry observers expected, Acer has snapped up Gateway of the US in a recommended offer which vaults Acer into third position in the global PC market and effectively blocks Lenovo's attempt to acquire Packard Bell — see this EngagingChina story.

In accepting the $710m bid from Acer, Gateway said it will exercise its right of first refusal to buy a majority stake in Packard Bell's parent company, which is owned by John Hui, a Chinese-American businessman.

Last year, NEC sold Packard Bell to companies controlled by Hui, the former owner of eMachines, the low-cost PC manufacturer that shot to brief fame in the dotcom boom. EMachines was recently acquired by Gateway, another former high-flier in the PC industry which has today fallen on hard times.

Acer employs more than 5,000 people and last year had revenues of more than $11bn. Its combination with Gateway will create a PC vendor with sales of more than $15bn. Lenovo said that it remained interested in Packard Bell and was “reviewing its options”.

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