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Portable projector firms to merge

InFocus and Proxima's union will create the largest manufacturer and supplier of portable projectors.

InFocus and Proxima agreed to a merger that will create the largest manufacturer and supplier of portable projectors.

Wilsonville, Ore.-based InFocus will acquire Proxima of Oslo, Norway, in a stock swap valued at nearly $480 million based on InFocus' Friday closing price of $32.

Portable projectors attach to notebooks, CD or DVD drives, and other devices to show images, presentations or movies on a wall or screen. They are typically used in sales or by educators.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, calls for an exchange of 0.3165 InFocus shares for each Proxima share. Following the merger, Proxima shareholders are expected to make up about 38 percent of the new entity and InFocus shareholders the remainder--62 percent.

Both chief executives--John Harker of InFocus and Ole Fredriksen--plan to stay on as co-chairmen. Harker will also act as CEO. Four InFocus board members and two from Proxima will make up the new board of directors. The new entity will keep the InFocus name.

InFocus and Proxima are currently the market leaders in portable projectors, collectively maintaining about 50 percent of the U.S. share sold through dealers, according to PC Data.

"Together, Proxima and InFocus will have sufficient resources, technical expertise, strength and depth to accelerate the development of new projection system technologies and applications, and expand into new and emerging markets," Harker said in a prepared statement.

As a combined entity, InFocus and Proxima would have had revenues of $689 million and net income of $44 million in 1999, on a pro forma basis.

Although the companies expect to generate revenue from the consolidation of operations, no layoffs or facility closings are anticipated because of the merger. The deal is expected to close in the second quarter.

Salomon Smith Barney is acting as adviser to InFocus, and Deutsche Banc Alex Brown is performing a similar role for Proxima.