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Technology / AI and automation

DATA GENERAL, SYMBOLICS AND GIGAMOS VIE FOR BANKRUPT LISP MACHINE

Just three bids had been received for bankrupt Lowell, Massachusetts artificial intelligence systems builder Lisp Machine Inc by the deadline on Friday, and the winner will be one of the three – Data General, Symbolics or Gigamos Holdings of Montreal, Canada, unless a plea entered by existing shareholder Texas Instruments is successful, in which case Texas may enter a bid of its own. The hearing to decide who gets the company is set for this Friday, May 22. Texas Instruments’ objections are to the conditions attached to the bids; it resigned from the creditors committee 10 days ago. Data General’s bid is for $1.5m; it has gone on record as saying it will take on all Lisp Machine employees – and has already taken on Lisp’s former president, Ward Mackenzie: the court agreed to terminate his contract with Lisp. Rival Symbolics has bid just $900,000 and made no clear statement on its intentions towards the employees. Gigamos Holdings has made the highest offer at $2.75m, but the price includes recievables, inventory, equipment and licences; it has also promised jobs to all of the employees. Its offer is 35 pages long and is described as having a lot of conditions. The Data General offer is less conditional, though still complicated. The Symbolics offer was described by lawyers as the least complicated. The decision on May 22 will be by sealed bid auction, and the prices are expected to alter by then. At least one of the potential acquirers has signed a non-disclosure agreement and therefore has access to confidential information about Lisp’s technology. It is likely to be performance details of the forthcoming K machine, but no-one would confirm or deny this.

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CBR Staff Writer

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