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IBM, PARTNERS FORM AXONE AS FIRST FRENCH NETWORK SERVICES FIRM

IBM France has wasted no time in plunging into the value-added network services business, announcing formation of a 45%-owned joint venture company with Groupe Paribas, 35% and Credit Agricole, 20%, just a week after the government gave the go-ahead for such services. Called Axone, the company will start by taking over IBM France’s existing 3090-based remote processing back-up bureau service, but will not begin to offer new services until next year. In the plan are electronic data inter-change services, networking facili ties management, and implementation of turnkey network systems. Axone will be capitalised at about $5m. Systems house Sema-Metra SA and the Credit du Nord bank hold 5% and 4% respectively of the Paribas shareholding. Axone is likely to be followed shortly with proposed value added network services from consortia put together by Olivetti and Bull. Managing director of Axone G Jousset, who comes from IBM, says Axone will improve and expand the network it is buying from IBM over the next few months with access points in main cities.

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