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April 24, 1988

ALCATEL “OPEN TO OFFERS” FOR ITS CHRISTIAN ROVSING UNIT

By CBR Staff Writer

We’re open to offers for Christian Rovsing, Alcatel NV chief operating officer Philippe Gluntz told CommunicationsWeek at the company’s annual meeting in Amsterdam last week: Rovsing has an excellent fault-tolerant communications processor, but it’s too high-level for us. According to the US trade weekly, no negotiations to sell the company are under way, but the statement is well-nigh certain to unlock the floodgates and excite a string of inquiries about one of the specialist jewels in Alcatel’s crown. ITT Corp won a controlling stake in the core business of Rovsing after the Danish company went bankrupt in September 1984: bidding for the business was fierce, with Philips and ICL showing early interest; the two other finalists were Olivetti and Sperry (CI No 53). The attractions of Rovsing include a string of Nato communications contracts for its equipment in Europe, and a major contract in the US from American Airlines for switches for the Sabre air reservation network. Coupled with a statement from Alcatel that it would continue to streamline this year, and that its controlling shareholder sold its GSI SA computer services business last year, it can be deduced that most if not all of Alcatel’s computer investments are available at a price. Among the ones that do not fit with the mainstream business at all are the ComputerTechnik Muller business computer builder in Konstanz, West Germany, the controlling shareholding in RC Computer in Denmark, and a 37% stake in Dutch micro-software house Holland Automation. A question mark is also posed over the Xtra personal computer and Courier 3270-compati ble displays businesses in the US. Qume Corp is already being sold.

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