THE PRICE OF FREEDOM

HOW GATEWAY'S BILLIONAIRE FOUNDER DECIDED NOT TO CASH IN WITH COMPAQ

Inflation may be at a historic low, but the price of independence is climbing. What better evidence than the ponytailed Ted Waitt, founder and 46% owner of South Dakota's mail-order computer retailer Gateway 2000? Waitt, 34, the son of a fourth-generation cattle broker, has just walked away from a monumental deal with Compaq Computer that would have left him with a personal fortune of more than $3 billion. No, he did not get kicked in the head by a cow.

There have been rumors for weeks that growth-obsessed Compaq was stalking Gateway. Compaq CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer has said he wants to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!