Pitney Bowes Inc. (PBI) is the world's largest seller of postage meters, devices that allow companies to print postage on letters rather than using stamps. The company has over 2 million customers worldwide. Its sale and operation of postage meters is heavily regulated by national governments, since printing postage essentially amounts to printing money, and this creates high barriers to entry that protect Pitney Bowes' virtual monopoly in this business. PBI controls 80% of the domestic postage-meter market and 65% internationally.
While postage meters are in continual demand by any business that sends a lot of mail, direct mailing is being increasingly displaced by internet advertising, and this limits PBI's growth opportunities within its core market. To build revenues in the long term, PBI has turned its attention outside of postage meters into businesses such as document services, including letter production and design software, facilities management, and outsourced marketing. The firm has made $2.5 billion in acquisitions since 2000 in order to diversify beyond the postage meter business. Notable acquisitions in 2007 - when the firm spent $570 million buying other companies - included MapInfo (Troy, NY) and Digital Cement (Toronto, Canada). (Read more at Wikinvest )