Microsoft Corp will end up with a 10% stake in the new company to be formed by the merger of Wang Laboratories Inc and the computer services division of Ing C Olivetti SpA, according to reports from Italian unions. They say that Olivetti managing director Roberto Colaninno told them that the merger would go through before the end of the year. Union bosses report that Colaninno said Olivetti would take a 20% stake in the new company, while Microsoft would have a 10% interest. Microsoft holds $90m in Wang convertible stock as a result of a deal agreed in April 1995 (CI No 2,644) which was struck in order to settle a patent infringement lawsuit brought by Wang. Microsoft’s 10% stake in the Olivetti/Wang merged company simply reflects its stake in Wang and involves no further investment, according to those close to the talks. But Microsoft has been keen to be associated with service companies lately, as it tries to convince corporate customers that it or its partners can offer the solid service and support for Windows NT required by large companies. It has already put agreements in place with Digital Equipment Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co and Unisys Corp. Wang, based in Billerica, Massachusetts, admitted it was in talks with loss-making Olivetti in October and is expected to pay between $500m and $600m for the company. The new company will be triple the size of Wang with annual revenues of around $3.5bn.
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