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Compaq buys modem maker

The largest PC manufacturer acquires Microcom, a maker of modems and remote access software, for $280 million.

Looking to establish a foothold in the rapidly expanding remote access market, Compaq Computer (CPQ) today announced an agreement to acquire Microcom (MNPI) for about $280 million.

Microcom makes PC modems and remote access server chassis for Internet service providers. Compaq, a market leader in PCs and server systems, said it will use Microcom's expertise to introduce new remote connectivity products.

Compaq will acquire all outstanding Microcom shares for $16.25 each, about $6 more than the current price of the stock.

The move follows the acquisition of remote access and modem kingpin U.S. Robotics earlier this year by 3Com. Networking hardware players have targeted remote access recently as a necessity to offer customers complete product lines, especially the fast-growing ISP and carrier markets.

Compaq has bought its way into the networking hardware market, plucking NetWorth and Thomas Conrad in 1995 to offer switches, hubs, and adapters.