Fourteen years after it entered the computer business with the acquisitions of Interdata Corp and Wangtek Inc, Perkin-Elmer Corp has thought better of the decision and has agreed to pass its 82% shareholding in Concurrent Computer Corp, direct descendent of Interdata, on to Massachusetts Computer Corp, Westford, Massachusetts. Perkin-Elmer floated its computer business off as Concurrent two years ago to give the operation better visibility, but performance of the 32-bit minicomputer builder has remained lacklustre. The much smaller Masscomp, which specialises in high-performance scientific Unix supermicros, is offering $20 a share for the Tinton Falls, New Jersey company: it proposes to change its name to Concurrent Computer and move its headquarters to Tinton Falls. Concurrent president and chief executive James Sims will become chairman, president and chief executive of the new company at the merger, which is expected to occur in late September. Masscomp’s president Russell Planitzer, who is a partner in the venture capital firm of J H Whitney & Co, will reduce his role to board member. The acquisition will cost Masscomp some $229m and there is no indication of where it expects to find the cash: the agreement is contingent on, among other things, its finding the cash it needs. Both companies are strong in real-time computing – Masscomp with its real-time extensions to Unix, Concurrent with the OS/32 operating system on its 3200 series of minis, which are widely used in the simulation business, where the main competition comes from Gould Computer Systems. Masscomp, with 700 employees, did $74.6m in the year to June 1987, and reported a profit of $2.5m on sales of $58.4m in the nine months to end-March; Concurrent, with some 2,800 employees, did $247.7m in the year to July 1987 and did $10.9m net on turnover of $201.8m in the nine-months to end-April, so the combined company should have annual sales of between $350m and $400m this year. Perkin-Elmer, which will revert to a pure instruments and semiconductor capital equipment company after the sale, will get $188m for its Concurrent shares, and says that it will use the cash to buy in some of its own shares and for general purposes. It will post only a very small gain on the transaction.
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