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After a year of searching, William Millard has finally found a buyer for Computerland Corp in the shape of an investment group led by E M Warburg, Pincus & Co Inc of New York – but the price for the 80% holding is believed to be a disappointing $200m or so: it had been valued at $1,000m three years ago. The transaction for the Oakland, California-based franchise store chain with more than 800 outlets and 1986 sales of $1,450m, is expected to be closed within 90 days. Warburg says that the acquisition will be made for cash and a substantial cash infusion into the chain is also thought to be involved. Millard, now a resident of the Northern Marianas in the Pacific, controls 96% of the shares, had been looking for $400m for the chain last year. A 28.5% portion of his holding is held in trust pending a final ruling in the suit brought by Micro/Vest, a company formed to pursue a claim that relates to disputed interest in a predecessor company to ComputerLand. Under the agreement with Warburg, Millard will turn over all of his undisputed holding in the company. Micro/Vest is believed to have been given permission to sell just over a third of the 28.5% in which a court ruling has given it provisional title, and will retain the cash it receives regardless of the final outcome of the litigation. Millard is expected to get $175m for his undisputed holding. Warburg says it has no immediate plans to take ComputerLand public, but is expected to do so within the next year or two.

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CBR Staff Writer

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