A Helping Hand For Europe's High Tech Heavies

Olivetti Chairman Carlo De Benedetti knows how to pick his moments. Since the 1989 breakup of a computer partnership with American Telephone & Telegraph Co., he has flirted with everyone from Dutch giant Philips and Britain's ICL to IBM in search of a replacement. Now, with U.S. companies waging a fierce fight for European market share and hungry for allies, De Benedetti is making his move. On June 26, he exacted a princely price--about $300 million--from Digital Equipment Corp. for a 10% stake in money-losing Olivetti. In return, DEC gets to pump its new workstation technology through Olivetti's vast European sales network in competition with IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Sun Microsystems.

To continue reading this article you must be a Bloomberg Professional Service Subscriber.