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Acorn falls off education tree

Sells its half of Xemplar to Apple

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Acorn has taken another step away from its traditional stomping ground by selling its half of Xemplar. The other joint owner, Apple, now takes full charge of the educational supplier. The deal valued Xemplar at £6 million, with Acorn bagging £3 million for its share. For the year ending 31 December, Xemplar recorded a pre-tax profit of £200,000 and its net asset value was estimated to be around £4.2 million. Acorn has said it will use the proceeds of the sale to fund further developments in the digital TV and multimedia industries, where - it says - its new focus lies. Stan Boland, chief executive of Acorn Group plc said: "The disposal of our stake in Xemplar was a natural step, given (Acorn's) business focus. It reinforces our commitment to becoming a major player in the rapidly growing digital TV market." Xemplar’s cross-platform approach is unlikely to change -- much of Xemplar's success has been founded on its non-partisan approach to systems -- but as a fully-ownned subsidiary of Apple UK, machines like the iMac and the forthcoming consumer/education-oriented portable, codenamed P1, plus Apple's MacOS X Server software, which is designed to make it easy to centrally manage iMacs running in Network Computer mode are more likely to be promoted more strongly. ®

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