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05 Jan 06. Blackstone Group and Hewlett-Packard Co. are exploring a possible buyout of Computer Sciences Corp., according to people familiar with the matter, as private-equity buyers begin to sweep through the computer-outsourcing business. The discussions concerning Computer Sciences were described as preliminary, the people familiar with the matter said, and could well stumble on a number of issues ranging from price to ownership structure. The relationship between Blackstone and H-P is still in flux. It is currently envisaged that H-P would initially own a minority stake in CSC, but it could later buy out Blackstone and any other private-equity owners. It remains unclear what price Blackstone and H-P may be willing to pay for CSC, which carries a market capitalization of nearly $9.4 billion and holds an additional $1 billion in debt. The company had been hoping to attract an offer of $65 a share — or about $12 billion total — people familiar with the matter said. That price had been preliminarily offered this fall by a group including Lockheed Martin Corp., Warburg Pincus, Texas Pacific Group and Blackstone. (Source: WSJ)

29 Dec 05. DaimlerChrysler AG is selling a German diesel-engine maker and off-highway operation to Swedish private-equity firm EQT Partners as part of efforts to focus on core businesses and to finance job cuts at its Mercedes division. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed, though DaimlerChrysler said yesterday that the deal would bring the car maker a cash inflow of an estimated €1bn ($1.18bn). The transaction is expected to increase operating profit by an estimated €400m ($473.4m), with net income rising by about €300m, the company said. DaimlerChrysler said the deal valued the acquired units at €1.6bn, including cash, cash equivalents, debts and pension obligations. The operations supply diesel engines, plus drive systems for ships, heavy land and rail vehicles, and stationary energy-generation plants. The sale of engine maker MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH and the off-highway operation of DaimlerChrysler’s Detroit diesel unit, expected to close in the first quarter of 2006, is a key part of DaimlerChrysler’s plan to use divestments of noncore businesses to offset a restructuring charge of €950 million for cutting 8,500 jobs at its German Mercedes unit. The charge will be booked mainly in the fourth quarter, the company has said. DaimlerChrysler has said the job reductions at Mercedes are needed to revive the unit’s profit. The cuts come as some of its Western rivals also slash personnel costs amid sales declines in key markets and excess factory capacity. (Source: WSJ)

22 Dec 05. Thales finalizes the sale of its optical components businesses to European private equity firm Candover. Thales and Candover today finalized the sale of Thales High Tech Optics (HTO) activities in the UK, US, Singapore, Germany and Hungary. Under the agreement, Candover has acquired the businesses, regarded as non-strategic for Thales, for a total consideration of €220 million, payable in cash. The sale has received approval by the regulatory authorities for competition (Germany and Austria) and foreign investments (USA). Thales HTO is a world leader in designing and manufacturing high precision optical components and modules for both military and civil applications. Thales HTO is active in four main areas: infantry night vision, optical components, optical modules and optical coatings. “With this sale, Thales has divested non-core businesses. We bought Avimo and Pilkington for their optronic system capabilities which will continue to be part of our key product portfolio but we do not believe it is in the best interests of these HTO businesses to remain under our ownership” stated Jean-Loup Picard Senior Vice President for Strategy, Research and Technology. “As demonstrated over the last four years, it has been our strategic intent to refocus the business on our core activities to strengthen our leading position as a large

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