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November 10, 1995

THINKING MACHINES FORESHADOWS SUN PARALLEL BOX IN REORGANISATION

By CBR Staff Writer

Despite having abandoned manufacture of its massively parallel systems, Thinking Machines Corp, now in Bedford, Massachusetts, believes it can build a new business from the ashes of the old, and has filed a reorganisation plan that it says is supported by its creditors, which would enable it to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection if the court approves it. It admits that it will be a vastly different company, planning to sell commercial software for computers made by others, and the first product, to be available at the end of the first quarter of 1996, will be a parallel processing server using Sun Microsystems Inc’s UltraSparc processors, which according to Dow Jones & Co will be sold by Sun, at prices under $1m. It now has 180 staff, down from 425 at peak, and it says it has been profitable at the operating level for the past four quarters, but sales will be about $30m, down from $90m in 1991. The reorganisation plan calls for creditors to receive $33m of the $40m, and to raise the money, Thinking Machines plans to form a company to hold its patents, which will be owned by the creditors until they are paid off through licensing fees, expected to take three or four years. The former shareholders then get 80% of the patent company, Thinking Machines the rest. Once it is out of the hands of the court, it aims to raise $10m of new money from equity owners and new investors who will then own 75%; creditors will own 17.5% stake, leaving just 7.5% for existing shareholders.

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