Philips breaks off Origin stake talks with Price Waterhouse

PHILIPS, the Dutch electronics giant, yesterday announced that talks with Price Waterhouse, about the consulting group taking a minority stake in Origin, Philips' services and consulting arm, had broken down after the two parties failed to agree a price.

Philips agreed to sell the stake to Price Waterhouse last October but did not disclose the price. After several delays, negotations have now broken down.

However, Philips said that the strategic alliance between Origin and Price Waterhouse would continue. The two companies currently co-operate in supplying complex enterprise resource planning services, which help companies manage their most important activities.

Separately, Origin said it had appointed Robert E Pickering, a former President of US IT services group BSG Alliance/IT, as its chief executive.

Origin has been one of the fastest-growing divisions of Philips since it was set up as a separate division in 1996. Last year, its sales grew by 21 per cent and it posted its first profit. However, Philips is currently involved in a massive reorganisation which involves it pulling out of all businesses which are peripheral to its main activities. The company is now expected to consider floating Origin as a separate company.

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