Packard Bell Merges With NEC

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NEW YORK CITY: NEC and Packard Bell Electronics announced they will merge their personal computer operations, making the combined entity the world's fourth largest PC maker. A combined Packard Bell and NEC would have led the U.S. in PC sales in 1995. The $300 million deal does not include NEC's personal computer operations in Japan, where it is the No. 1 PC-maker. Packard Bell, whose growth exploded in the early 1990s as consumers jumped into the lower-priced PC market, has seen its market share slip during the first quarter this year. The merged company will be called Packard Bell NEC and be led by Packard Bell's CEO Beny Alagem, who said he expects the company to go public within two years. The deal builds on NEC's previous investments in Packard Bell, including the help it provided in a February merger of Packard Bell and Zenith Data Systems. Some analysts expect the company to consolidate its operations because of the complications that would arise from selling computers under three brand names: Packard Bell, NEC and Zenith. Terence Nelan