Schneider moves to reassure APC users after takeover

American Power Conversion (APC), the maker of uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), has been acquired by French vendor Schneider Electric, potentially complicating corporate data protection strategies.

But sources close to APC are advising user organisations that it's 'business as usual', with both brand names and product ranges likely to continue to exist in the medium term.

If the $6.1bn deal receives approval from shareholders in a vote early next year, it will result in a worldwide provider of power products for every size of enterprise, say the two companies.

Both companies make UPS devices that provide backup to networks and servers to offset irregularities in the supply of electrical power. In an increasingly 'always available' world, the UPS system adds an increasingly important layer of resilience to corporate systems and data centres.

Anju Birdy, marcoms manager for APC in the UK, said that it was too early for users to draw any conclusions about what will happen next, as the deal is 'still pending'.

But Nick Ewing, a solutions consultant with Comtec Power, a reseller of APC products, said prospective buyers of APC products had nothing to gain by waiting for the outcome of the deal. "Both companies will continue as independent brands for the foreseeable," he told IT PRO. "I really can't see any of APC's product range being trimmed. If anything it'll probably be enhanced." User support will continue as before, he predicted.

"Schneider has got its fingers in a lot of pies, including the high end of the UPS market which APC has not managed to hit very successfully," said David Gould, a consultant on APC's product range with storage distribution company Bell Microproducts.

"I can see this acquisition working well for both parties and for end users, with Schneider's Merlin Gerin range at the high end and APC for the middle and low end of the market," he told IT PRO. "I'd say this is good news for existing users of APC products that might want to scale up."

As well as UPS products which it sells under the brand name of Merlin Gerin, Schneider also sells power monitoring units, equipment enclosures, circuit breakers, transformers and surge protectors, in addition to RFID products. APC also makes cooling systems, racks, cables, power generators and surge protectors.

Schneider says it estimates that 40 per cent of the global demand for UPS products comes from data centres and 20 per cent from enterprise networking, with the rest from a mix of private and public sector organisations.

The majority of APC's sales come from North America and Asia, while Schneider's sales come mainly from Europe and Asia.