LOCAL IKON UNIT GETS NEW OWNERS

The Buffalo News – May 7, 2005 (Fred O. Williams, News Business Reporter) – A Florida buyout group has acquired the Upstate New York Technology Services unit of IKON Office Solutions in Cheektowaga, which installs and maintains computer networks.

Empire Investment Holdings LLC of Fort Lauderdale closed on the acquisition April 5, chief executive David F. Alfonso said. Terms were undisclosed.

The former IKON unit will be renamed VITEC Solutions and will remain headquartered in the Buffalo area, Alfonso said. The technology services business has about 110 employees, 60 of whom are based at the Cheektowaga office on Cayuga Road, he said. The others are at offices in Syracuse, Rochester, Albany, and New York City, and at client sites scattered around the Northeast.

The unit's 650 clients are concentrated in New York, but range around the eastern U.S. from New Hampshire to Virginia, Alfonso said. Most clients are small to mid-sized businesses and organizations.

IKON has increasingly focused on document management solutions, leaving the network service business outside its strategic direction, Alfonso said. The acquired business is performing well, he said, but refused to disclose sales or profits.

The deal is the first acquisition for Empire, launched in 2003 with $100 million in private capital, Alfonso said. However, the fund's principals have experience with 35 previous deals, he said.