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It looks as if the Digital Equipment Corp is finally ready to offload its networking business in the latest round of its fire sale. Cabletron Systems Inc, itself not in the rudest of health, is the reported buyer of the business, which is expected to fetch between $400m and $500m, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Earlier reports had the business fetching between $500m and $750m, but the lower price is probably due to the expectation that the two companies will maintain a close partnership, whereby DEC would OEM some of the products back from Cabletron to sell under its own name. Neither company would comment on the rumor. The deal would also enable DEC to sell networking equipment from other vendors. It has been known since at least August that DEC was looking to sell the business. Cabletron president CEO and co- founder Robert Levine left the company in August and the other co-founder, Craig Benson withdrew from the day-to-day running of the company, but stayed on as chairman. Levine was replaced by former Nynex Corp senior officer, Don Reed. DEC closed up $0.75 at $48.3125, Cabletron up $0.375 at $27.3125.

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