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Bell Atlantic Corp has signed a letter of intent to buy the European maintenance, distribution and communications subsidiaries of Bell Canada Enterprises Inc. The proposed cash deal will end Bell Canada’s attempts to build up a European maintenance operation. In late 1984, it bought GCS Ltd (CI No 73), subsequently renamed Bell Technical Services, following up in March 1985 with the UKP6m purchase of Cable and Wireless Plc’s computer maintenance businesses. At the time of the second acquisition (CI No 150), Bell Canada forecast a 1985 European maintenance turnover of UKP20m. Neither Bell is revealing current turnover for the business, but Elaine Mercer of Bell Technical Services says the UK side is running at between UKP10m and UKP15m and is by far the largest part. According to Ms Mercer, it is profitable. For Bell Atlantic, the deal gives its $300m-a-year Sorbus arm, purchased from MAI Basic Four Inc in 1985, its first serious European interests. Bell Canada intends to use the undisclosed cash sum to expand its consulting and networking services in Europe. The deal is expected to be effective as of January 1 1988.

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