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Gould Inc has decided to get out of the factory automation business and has agreed to sell its industrial automation unit to AEG AG of West Germany for $290m. The loss-making unit has 1,500 employees and had sales last year of about $200m – some 20% of Gould’s $933m total. It has plants in Andover, MassachuRacine, Wisconsin; and El Paso, Texas, and will join AEG’s $960m-a-year factory automation business. AEG may also find synergy between the new business and products from its Modular Computer Systems real-time minimaker in Fort Lauderdale. Gould for its part wants to concentrate now on its computer and electronics businesses, and plans to spend much of the cash buying back as much as 20% of its own shares and on repaying some of its debt. The company also adopted anti-takeover measures that would allow holders to buy preference shares in Gould or a would-be acquirer at a 50% discount to the market price.

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