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July 1, 1990


By CBR Staff Writer

Altos Computer Systems Inc has revealed that it is in talks with Acer Corp that could lead to the ambitious Taiwanese company acquiring the San Jose builder of Unix supermicros. A price of $8.35 a share – $93m all told – has been discussed, which compares with $5.75 in the market a week ago, although well-founded gossip had driven the price up to $7.875 immediately before the announcement. Acer tried to get into the high-end Unix workstation business with its acquisition of Counterpoint Computers Inc but little is heard from that side of the business these days. Acer’s main business is Intel iAPX-86 family personal computers and its has OEM deals with Texas Instruments and ICL, as well as a worldwide network of some 10,000 dealers. The 12-year-old Acer had worldwide turnover of $702m last year, while Altos lost money on sales of $140m in the year to June 1989: full year figures, due in a few weeks, are expected to show some growth up to around $160m, with the final quarter the first break-even quarter following manageable losses for two years. Although it has failed to get onto the fast growth track with its Intel iAPX-86 multi-user systems, which were in the past were offered with a variety of operating systems includ ing Pick, Altos has been in a relat ively strong position because it has always had substantial cash reser ves, believed to approach $40m now. It also has a parallel but declining Motorola 68000 family line, and despite its relatively small size, could well look attractive to one or two other companies. Its product line would fill a gap in AT&T Co’s emerging new line, and its customer base would be welcome both to AT&T and to one of the bigger personal computer companies ambitious to move upmarket such as Dell Computer Corp.

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