Acer divorces Benq

Acer divorces Benq

Acer, the world's third-largest PC company, has withdrawn its representative from the board of directors at Benq so each company can focus on its own brandname and to avoid conflict over their competing businesses, Benq said in a statement late last Friday.

The move comes as little surprise to people keeping an eye on the two Taiwanese companies, after the old Acer undertook a major business reorganisation in the year 2000. Acer and Benq, headed by two of the top managers of the Acer Group at the time, JT Wang, the current chairman of Acer, and KY Lee, chairman of Benq, have become increasingly bitter rivals in the global electronics industry, competing in several product lines, including notebook PCs and desktop monitors.

Acer retained a major stake in several former sister or spinoff companies after the reorganisation, allowing it to continue to place its own representatives on the boards of those firms, including Benq. But Benq said the Acer representative, who was to hold a seat on the board until May 17, 2008, resigned on Friday.

In a statement, Acer said it sold 50 million shares of its stock holdings in Benq late last year, and planned to sell an additional 50 million shares this year as part of a plan it announced in July of last year. It did not say what its holdings would be after the sale.

"Acer has been disposing of its non-core business investments as part of the company's strategy to focus on our core business — IT products. We haven't announced yet when we plan to sell the next quantity of Benq shares," said Stella Chou, an Acer representative. Acer currently owns around 7% of Benq’s shares, she said.

She did not comment on why Acer decided to exit Benq’s board of directors.

The chairmen of the two companies have clashed publicly a few times in Taiwan over their competition with each other. The decision to sell off Benq shares was announced shortly after one of their tiffs.

Acer's stock rose 0.3% to NT$62.80 (NZ$3.07) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Monday, while Benq shares dropped 0.7% to NT$27.2.

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