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January 21, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:14pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Even when a sale of the company has finally been agreed and announced, sale of Ing C Olivetti & Co SpA’s personal computer business continues to have to be the subject of a dance of the seven veils. The company duly announced late yesterday that the personal computer business was going to a new company to be called Piedmont International SpA, but apart from the fact that Olivetti will have a 10% stake in Piedmont, information on ownership will be announced in due course. As for the price, you can pluck a number out of the air – it’s announced as being between $160m and $190m. The man behind the acquisition is US lawyer and financier Edward Gottesman, whose Centenary Ltd in London is expected to hold the majority stake in the new firm. Gianmario Rossignolo, chairman of the Zanussi SpA unit of Electrolux AB has agreed to become executive chairman of Piedmont. The Olivetti brand will be licensed to Piedmont for 20 years, and its personal computer plant in Scarmagno will stay open as part of the deal; the bad news for Olivetti shareholders is that the plant will remain owned by Olivetti and leased to Piedmont for four years, which means that if Piedmont goes bust in the next two or three years, Olivetti will be saddled with the plant. After two years, Olivetti will have the option to require Piedmont to buy its remaining 10% stake in the company.

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