Europe's High Tech Giants: Too Little, Too Late?

They're finally scrambling to get into shape

It was a long-awaited move. In an emergency press conference in Munich on Nov. 4, Heinrich von Pierer, CEO of Germany's Siemens, unveiled a sweeping shakeup of his $71 billion conglomerate. After years of taking a gradual approach to improving the behemoth's competitiveness in high tech, von PierEr announced that he would apply radical surgery to Siemens, divesting units with sales totaling $10.2 billion and employing 60,000 people. The company plans to unload its components business and spin off its semiconductor unit. Siemens' stock soared 12% as investors absorbed the news. "We're taking shareholder value more seriously than they had thought," says von Pierer.

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