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Tech Industry

Wang looks to buy Olivetti unit

Wang announces that it is in talks to acquire the IT systems services of troubled Olivetti and reports improved first-quarter results.

Wang (WANG), which has been fighting back since its bankruptcy days by trying to transform its business, announced improved first-quarter results today and noted that it is in talks to acquire the information technology systems services of troubled Olivetti.

Wang, which emerged from reorganization bankruptcy in 1993, is considering acquiring Olivetti's Olsy, an IT solutions and services subsidiary. Olivetti would still retain an interest in the combined entity.

The deal would give Wang a European distributor that develops and manages IT solutions for enterprise customers, largely in the banking, retail, and utility industries. It would further bolster the company's services operations, building on Wang's recent acquisition of I-Net, an outsourcing and systems integration company.

Wang has refocused on becoming a network and desktop integration and services company, and as part of that transformation earlier this year sold its software business unit to Kodak in a deal worth $260 million.

The current transaction also would benefit Olivetti, which has been hit with steep financial woes in addition to a management shakeup last year. The large Italian information and technology company earlier this year spun off its PC manufacturing operations, Olivetti Computers.

Wang noted, however, that although discussions are underway, there is no guarantee the deal will be finalized.

Meanwhile, Wang blew past analysts' expectations for the first quarter, posting a profit of $11.4 million, or 21 cents a share, for the quarter ending September 30, compared with a loss of $26.4 million, or 82 cents a share, a year ago.

Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of 14 cents a share, according to First Call.

Wang's revenues rose to $312.2 million for the quarter, up from $272.7 million a year ago.