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  1. Technology
August 16, 1996


By CBR Staff Writer

Publisher Softbank Corp is unquestionably a maverick in Japanese eyes, and in its latest stunning move after snapping up Comdex and Ziff Communications, it has gone for a rather more asset-backed purchase, paying about $1,400m in paper for an 80% stake in Kingston Technology Co, Fountain Valley, California maker of memory boards. It will issue 2.62m new Softbank shares valued at 17,508 yen per share to KTC-Tu Corp and KTC-Sun Corp, two companies owned by founders of Kingston. The co-founders, John Tu and David Sun, will continue to manage the company, retaining all of its current 500 employees, and retaining the other 20%. Japan liked the deal and Softbank shares jumped 700 yen, or 4.3% on the news. Kingston Technology reported sales of $1,300m in 1995 from its add-on memory boards for personal computers, servers, workstations and printers; it also does processor upgrades, networking hardware and storage products. I have wanted to buy a memory board maker since six years ago, but it had to be the world’s number one company, and I was waiting until I was sure which was the best, Softbank president Masayoshi Son said. He reckons Kingston has 60% of the world add-on memory market and reckons that it is growing at 30% a year.

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