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July 15, 1998

SOFTBANK BUYS OMRON DIVISION FOR PCs

By CBR Staff Writer

Following its $400m investment in E*Trade Inc (CI No 3,450), Softbank Corp is to buy a division of Omron Group and start selling PC hardware. The Japanese software giant will pay $5m to acquire Omron Micro Computer Systems Co Ltd, which is capitalized at around $3.5m, and obtain its 980,000 outstanding shares. Under the terms of the acquisition, which is expected to be completed by the end of next March, Softbank will take over the Omron Micro distribution network, and then plans to expand it. The division will continue to trade under the Omron name for the time being, but there are plans to move to the Softbank in the future. At the beginning of the week, Tokyo-based Softbank crowned a series of agreements it has with E*Trade and purchased a 27.2% stake in the internet investment service company. In March Softbank saw its pre tax profit drop 13% to $182.8m for fiscal 1997, the first annual decline since the company went public in 1994 (CI No 3,407).

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