NEC sells Packard Bell to former e-Machines owner

NEC sells subsidiary to focus on the enterprise market

NEC has sold its Packard Bell unit to companies controlled by John Hui, the former owner of e-Machines, NEC said Monday.

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

Packard Bell markets and sells PCs and other consumer electronics products in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South America. The company that has been sold was created last year from what was left after the enterprise PC business was spun out of NEC Computers International to NEC Computers, a French unit of NEC. NEC's links with the Packard Bell brand name date back to July 1995, when it paid US$170 million for a 19.9 percent stake in U.S. PC maker Packard Bell Electronics.

Its revenue in the year from April 2005 to March 2006 was Euro 1.3 billion.

"NEC's focus has been going more towards the enterprise market so we decided it's in the best interests of Packard Bell and NEC to sell the company," said Diane Foley, an NEC spokeswoman in Tokyo.

Hui's plans for the division are still unknown, and NEC was constrained by a confidentiality agreement from disclosing the sales price or even the names of the companies that now officially own Packard Bell.

"Now that the sale has been completed, the buyer will decide how the company will be operated," said Kazuko Andersen, a spokeswoman for NEC in New York. "We believe the buyer will bring the Packard Bell business to further growth."

Hui did not respond to questions about his plans. Packard Bell was a fully-owned subsidiary of NEC, so he may not be compelled to file public documents.

(With reporting by Ben Ames in Boston.)

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