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May 20, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:09pm

AMSTRAD SELL OFF TELECOMS EQUIPMENT FIRM, BETACOM

By CBR Staff Writer

The break-up of UK-based electronics group Amstrad Plc has continued apace with the 6.5m pound sale of its consumer electronics business to telephone equipment manufacturer Betacom Plc. Betacom is paying for the acquisition in shares, lifting Amstrad’s holding to 69.7% from 65.4% and leaving less than 25% of the company in public hands. The assets being sold to Betacom include the division which will supply set-top boxes to the British Interactive Broadcasting digital television consortium announced last week (CI No 3,156). Also included are the Fidelity, Sinclair and Integra brands. The sale effectively signals the end of Amstrad as a manufacturing and marketing company and leaves it as little more than a holding company. It has up to 300m pounds of cash, the Viglen PC business, Dataflex, a tiny modem manufacturer and a majority stake in Betacom. However, the stake in Betacom also looks likely to be ditched as Amstrad is apparently looking to sell its interest. Amstrad is looking for tax-efficient ways of passing much of Amstrad’s cash to its shareholders which includes group chairman Alan Sugar, who has a 34% stake. Last month, Amstrad sold its Dancall Telecom A/S mobile phone business to Robert Bosch for $147m netting a paper profit of $137m (CI No 3,131).

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