Lbo Frenzy On The Continent

Conglomerates find an easy way to slim down

In August, Franz Scherer was thinking about working less and spending more time sharpening his bridge game and lowering his 16 golf handicap. Then the 56-year-old executive, who had just finished up a 10-year stint in top executive positions in Germany and France with Rank Xerox Ltd., got a call from a headhunter. So much for semi-retirement. Scherer is now CEO of Sirona, a maker of dental products that Germany's Siemens spun off on Nov. 3 in a leveraged buyout put together by Britain's Schroder Ventures. Laments Scherer: "My golf and bridge are really going to suffer."

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