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March 27, 1996

BASF SAYS IT’S READY TO SELL A STAKE IN COMPAREX IBMULATOR ARM

By CBR Staff Writer

Even its privileged access to the Hitachi Ltd Skyline, the ECL machine to which IBM Corp has ceded the top end of the mainframe business, is not enough to persuade BASF AG that the IBMulator world is a very attractive place to be any more. We are interested in finding a larger partner and would consider giving up a stake in Comparex Informationssysteme GmbH, Max Dietrich Kley, chief financial officer of the German chemicals group said yesterday in Ludwigshaven. Kley added that pressure on selling prices continued and earnings remained unsatisfactory in the magnetic products tape and disk business, also part of information systems. If results do not improve, then we retain the option of leaving everything open, Reuter quotes Kley as saying, in answer to a question of whether BASF would be interested in spinning off BASF Magnetics GmbH. The obvious buyer for a stake in Comparex – or the whole business – would be Hitachi’s 80%-owned Hitachi Data Systems Inc itself, but since the two signed a non-aggression pact and carved up Europe between them, Hitachi is under no pressure to pay a penny above a rock- bottom fire sale valuation.

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