Japan's Canon <7751.T> said it would buy Dutch copier and printer maker Oce in a deal worth $2.2 billion, as it tries to return to growth after the global downturn crippled demand for office equipment.

Copier and digital camera maker Canon and Oce said in a joint statement on Monday that Canon intends to offer 8.60 euros per share, or 730 million euros for Oce's total common shares outstanding.

Through the merger of Canon and Oce, we believe that we will be able to realize clear benefits, not only in the area of R&D, but also in terms of product mix and marketing, Canon Chief Operations officer Tsuneji Uchida said in a statement.

Oce Chief Executive Rokus van Iperen said that including debt and other obligations, the deal values Oce -- which competes with Xerox and Konica Minolta <4902.T> -- at about 1.5 billion euros ($2.2 billion).

Preference share holders Ducatus, ASR and ING -- which together hold 19 percent of the Oce's share capital -- agreed to sell their interests to Canon, while Oce shareholder Bestinver Gestion S.A. has agreed to tender its 9.5 percent stake.

Analysts said the deal is positive for Canon, while potentially negative for rival Japanese copier and printer maker Konica Minolta Holdings <4902.T>, which is in a business alliance with Oce.

Konica Minolta procures high-end production printing machines from Oce, while Oce procures lower-end machines from Konica Minolta, Mizuho Securities analyst Ryosuke Katsura said.

Chances are Canon machines will replace Konica Minolta gear in this relationship, he said.

Production printers, or digital commercial printers, are used to print such documents as product manuals and direct mail quickly and in large volume, and are a fast-growing segment of the global printer market.

Shares in Canon closed down 1.5 percent at 3,370 yen ahead of the announcement, underperforming the benchmark Nikkei average <.N225>, which gained 0.2 percent.

(Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka and Gilbert Kreijger; Editing by Joseph Radford)