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February 15, 1988

STC TO BUY NORTHERN TELECOM UK; ICL GETS DATA SYSTEMS OPERATIONS THROUGHOUT EUROPE

By CBR Staff Writer

Throwing in the towel on its ambitious plan launched in October 1983 to invest some UKP10m to build a major direct presence in the UK market, Northern Telecom yesterday announced that it had agreed to sell its UK business – and computer marketing operations around Europe – to STC Plc, in which the Canadian currently holds about 27.5%. STC will pay between UKP35m and UKP40m for the businesses, and will hand on the computer side – mainly marketing of the UK-designed Vienna multi-microprocessor business system – to its ICL subsidiary. ICL’s continental subsidiaries will get the Northern Telecom Data Systems marketing operations in the Netherlands, France, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium, and access to its distributors in several other countries. Since the interests being acquired were not a single trading group within Northern Telecom, there are no consolidated figures for them. All told, Northern Telecom employs 700 people in the UK, mainly concentrated at a large single site in Hemel Hempstead: at the time of Northern’s investment in STC in October, STC bought a 40% stake in Northern Telecom Plc, but the Bell Northern Research interests are not included in yesterday’s sale. The telecommunications product conflicts outlined in CI No 784 remain, particularly between Northern and Mitel PABXs.

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