Ninestar Notes Key Milestones on 19th Anniversary

Maker of third-party printer supplies – and more recently laser printers -Ninestar Corporation of Zhuhai, China, today marked its 19th anniversary, noting some key milestones in its history.

Ninestar, which was founded in 2000, began production of aftermarket chips for third-party ink cartridges in 2002. In 2004, it began production of third-party ink cartridges, and began research and development of toner cartridges. In 2007, it became a strategic partner of Legend Capital. In 2010, its subsidiary, Pantum, launched the first Chinese-branded and manufactured laser printer, the Pantum line. Four years later, Ninestar became a publicly listed company on the Chinese stock exchange.

Acquires Two Long-Time Litigation Foes

One of Ninestar’s most significant moves was its acquisition of Static Control Components , a U.S.-based maker of third-party printer supplies, for $62.97 million in 2015.

However, Ninestar’s most important acquisitions was its acquisition of Lexmark International, a U.S.-based vendor office-office imaging equipment and software and IBM spin-off. Ninestar acquired Lexmark with a consortium of investors for $3.9 billion in 2016. Lexmark executives said the acquisition would help Lexmark grow its sales in China and Asia.

As a result of the acquisition, Lexmark’s Enterprise Software group was separated from Lexmark and rebranded to Kofax, while Lexmark ceased trading on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2017, Ninestar announced that it would sell the Kofax software division to private-equity firm Thoma Bravo for $1.319 billion.

Interestingly, both of Ninestar’s key acquisitions – Static Control and Lexmark – had been involved in sprawling litigation for many years. In Lexmark International, Inc. vs. Static Control Components, Inc., the U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 eventually ruled in favor of Static Control, deciding that Static Control had standing to sue Lexmark under the Lanham Act involving Lexmark’s alleged false advertising regarding a toner-cartridge prebate program, with Static Control alleging that Lexmark had misled customers by stating that they had a legal obligation to return used toner cartridges to Lexmark, and also telling toner-cartridge remanufacturers that it was illegal to remanufacture Lexmark toner cartridges (see here for more on the case). The litigation between the two companies finally came to end in 2017 when Ninestar acquired Lexmark.

Moving on, in 2017, Ninestar – which was originally known as Apex Technology  – changed its name to Ninestar.

Ninestar continues to move into the laser-printer market. Last year, it announced that it was constructing a new manufacturing center for laser printers, while this past April it announced it was acquiring a 10-percent stake, worth approximately $2.5 million, in the Lenovo Image Technology company, Lenovo’s printer business unit.

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