As we closed for press last night, ITT Corp was preparing to announce that it had sold its 24% stake in STC Plc, parent of ICL to an Amer-ican-based company. Rumours of the sale had been rife all day in the City, leading to heavy trading of STC shares, which closed up 19 pence at 307p ahead of the news. Early gossip insisted that Siemens was the buyer – but it came from sources which would have us believe Siemens was buying Buckingham Pal-ace. Late in the day, the smart money was going on Northern Telecom – although Canadian-owned, it does most of its business in the US, and after several false starts is des-perate for a foothold in Europe – and would have plenty to bring to the party, unlike Siemens, which would simply look to turn STC over time into Siemens UK. ITT has also assured STC it will not sell to anyone distasteful to the company.
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