Now, Maybe Olivetti Can Find Its Way

De Benedetti's ouster means the giant can jettison its PC line

Olivetti Chairman Carlo De Benedetti, one of Italy's--and Europe's--most famous corporate chieftains, always knew how to get out of a scrape. When AT&T bailed out of its 22.5% stake in Olivetti at a huge loss in 1989, De Benedetti turned around a few years later and sold a chunk of the company to Digital Equipment Corp., which also eventually sold out at a loss. And late last year, when a sinking Olivetti desperately needed funds, an upbeat De Benedetti managed to sweet-talk investors into coughing up $1.5 billion in fresh capital.

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