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The Wordplex Information Systems Plc board yesterday failed to gain sufficient support from shareholders to implement its refinancing proposals. The door now seems wide open for Apricot Computers Plc’s share exchange bid to succeed, but City observers are looking for any one of a number of other companies to come in and top the Apricot offer. Requiring a 75% vote to carry the day, the board could only muster 64.7% of the derisory 42% of votes cast at an Extraordinary General Meeting held at the company’s Slough headquarters. Immediately after the meeting, acting chief executive Dr Geoff Bristow, part of the Octagon Industries team that would have come in to run Wordplex full-time if the motion had been carried, described the decision as a tragedy for staff who, he asserted, were just beginning to feel that the company would be great again. Despite the Wordplex bluff that the company would be destitute if the board’s proposals were rejected, its bankers stepped in to promise to extend support to July 31. The rejection appears to have been fully discounted: Wordplex shares rose fourpence to 138 pence, Apricot rose just a penny to 111p.

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