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10 Apr 06. Noel Forgeard, joint executive chairman of EADS, the European aerospace and defence group, has reacted to news of the planned merger between Thales and Alcatel in satellites by saying that EADS’ offer of a similar arrangement with Thales no longer applied, and that all the group’s options were open. On Wednesday last week, Alcatel and Thales announced an agreement that will see Alcatel with a stake of 21.6 per cent in Thales in exchange for its satellite and security assets. Mr Forgeard said that Thales’ rejection of a tie-up with EADS was a missed opportunity for the defence electronics group. (Source: Abstracted from Les Echos/FT.com)

Apr 06. Qinetiq is to manage a new group of experts to tackle computer crime. The group, comprising government officials and academics, will advise ministers on a number of current projects, including the introduction of biometric identity cards and passports, and the setting up of e-government initiatives.
The project will receive £1.8m in initial funding, with a further £10m available from the Department of Trade and Industry to develop new computer security technology. It will also develop security products and services to be sold.
Information technology security has become a big issue for the government over the past few years, with cybercrime estimated to cost large businesses more than £2.45bn a year. Lord Sainsbury, science and innovation minister at the DTI, said: “This initiative provides a real opportunity to harness the world-class information and network security expertise we possess in the UK and direct it towards the task ofwealth creation. “This knowledge transfer network should establish British industry as the world leader in the area.” The UK has a number of companies that specialise in computer security but has failed to build mass-market suppliers. The world’s largest IT security companies – Symantec, McAfee, and Trend Micro – are based in the US and Japan. The steering committee of the group will include representatives from the DTI, Home Office, Ministry of Defence, and from companies such as Aviva, BP, British Airways and Microsoft.
The group is part of a programme announced by the DTI last November, which will push forward technology, science and engineering development by distributing £200m a year in grants. It is also the latest in a series of government initiatives aimed at tackling computer crime. In January, the DTI backed the creation of an Institute of Information Security Professionals to help increase expertise in the security industry.

07 Apr 06. According to a report in ‘La Tribune’ today, German auto maker DaimerChrysler could sell more of its remaining stake in EADS, the European aerospace and defence group. DaimlerChrysler is reportedly in talks with the German bank KfW to sell more shares. DaimlerChrysler announced on Wednesday that it would reduce its existing stake in EADS to 7.5 per cent. French media group Lagardere has also indicated that it could reduce its own shareholding to 6 per cent. (Source: Abstracted from Les Echos/FT.com)

10 Apr 06. Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, the French state investment bank, is to buy a significant part of the €1.99bn ($2.4bn), 7.5 per cent stake in pan-European defence contractor EADS being sold by French publisher Lagardère, the FT’s sister paper Les Echos has learned. The acquisition, part of a French government strategy to build its influence in national businesses deemed “strategic”, will upset the French-German shareholder parity that has underpinned the equity of EADS since its creation from French, German and Spanish aerospace and defence champions six years ago. The French government already holds 15 per cent of EADS, capitalised at €26.1bn. Last week, in a first move to free up cash to devote to their core businesses, Lagardère and DaimlerChrysler each launched the sale of 7.5 per cent stakes in EADS, giving French and Germans equal 22.5 per cent stakes. KFW, German’s equivalent o

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