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HP Bewitched By VoodooPC

9/29/2006 10:06:00 AM Eastern

UPDATE! Palo Alto, Calif. — Looking to accelerate its step into the PC gaming market, Hewlett-Packard announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire high-end PC gaming maker VoodooPC.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but it is expected to be finalized by November. Voodoo is a privately held company co-owned by the brothers Rahul and Ravi Sood. It was founded in 1991 and is based in Calgary, Canada.

“The gaming space is extraordinarily important to us strategically,” said Todd Bradley, HP Personal Systems Group executive VP. “We looked for a partner that had a history of delivering products that were innovative. We looked for a partner that had outstanding leadership, someone that can contribute by creating awesome products built around innovation that matters,” Bradley continued. “We looked all around the world, and I’m very happy to say that we found them.”


 
Celebrating the announcement of HP’s acquisition of VoodooPC in NY, Thursday night, are (left to right) Rahoul Soot, a VoodooPC’s founder; Mark Cuban, HDNet CEO and advisor to both HP and VoodooPC; and Todd Bradley, HP PSG executive VP.

The purchase is reminiscent of Dell’s acquisition of Alienware earlier this year and will jump start HP’s presence in the gaming market. Entering the gaming market with dedicated gaming PCs is a first for HP, which in the past had simply touted some of its more powerful models as well-equipped for gamers.

Upon completion of the deal VoodooPC will become part of HP’s new business gaming unit, which will reside as a unit of the company’s Personal Systems Group (PSG). Rahul will stay on as the unit’s chief technologists and Ravi will become strategy director.

In announcing the deal, Rahul Soot extended his thanks to Mark Cuban, founder of HDNet, for providing his advice and guidance on the direction of his company. Cuban also plays a role in HP’s advertising campaign.

“Our vision has always been to redefine the machine – the PC, which I call the machine – and we’ve also stayed true to this vision,” said Ravi Soot. “HP has an equal vision, which you can see through their marketing campaigns. We were just stoked when we saw this stuff. We couldn’t wait to get the keys to the door of HP’s R&D center.”

In discussing the deal with TWICE, Steve Baker, The NPD Group’s industry analysis VP said “I think it’s a great deal.” He pointed out that HP had yet to enter into the high-end gaming market up to this point and he said that he saw room for growth and profit in that category. He also said the he though the collaboration between the two companies would help HP to “keep moving towards being more design-oriented,” moving it past it’s traditional “commodity PC” model.

When asked about a potential connection between this deal and the recent Dell acquisition of Alienware, Baker admitted that “I don’t know if we have a good read on that yet.” He said “They’re not changing anything on the Voodoo end. The expectation would be that they know what they bought and hopefully they’re smart enough to keep their hands off that business and let [Voodoo] to continue to do what they do.”

The VoodooPC unit will report to Phil McKinney who will become general manager of the business gaming unit while maintaining his job as chief technology officer of the PSG.

The Voodoo executives will be contributing their knowledge of the gaming business and high-end products, said Ann Finnie, a spokesperson for HP. She told TWICE that HP plans to keep Voodoo PC in its Canadian headquarters and she also said that she did not know of any plans for Voodoo staff layoffs.

HP will keep VoodooPC’s current direct to the consumer distribution model and brand name along with its marketing, sales, support and developmental operations.

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