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Acer-Centaur-IDT: denials flow thick & fast

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Taiwan's Acer Laboratories Inc is not involved in talks to buy US CPU manufacturer IDT, said ALI president Chin Wu today. Reliable industry sources have suggested that the Acer Group subsidiary may be involved in a purchase of Centaur Technology -- the CPU design division of Integrated Device Technology (IDT) -- or even a takeover of IDT itself. Last month, one of ALI's main competitors, VIA Technologies, announced plans to buy another US CPU-maker, Cyrix. In line with an increasing trend toward integration in the chipset and CPU markets, loss-making CPU design houses like IDT and Cyrix are becoming increasingly attractive to Taiwanese chipset makers. IDT has already announced plans to sell its CPU division. Several companies, including Intel and VIA, are looking at ways to combine the chipset and CPU in a single chip. The aim is to produce a so-called 'system on a chip' which will help make computers cheaper and smaller. ALI has regular contact with IDT and other companies that own potentially useful intellectual property, said Wu, but he emphasised that ALI had "not yet" talked to IDT about buying the company. He also denied that ALi had attempted to buy Cyrix prior to VIA's purchase of that company. Wu would not comment on the possible plans of other Acer group members. Speculation has also linked Acer Group components supplier, Aopen Inc., to a possible three-way deal involving Aopen, ALI and IDT. Aopen representatives did not return calls Thursday. Taipei-based downstream electronics analyst, Arthur Hsieh, of Taiwan Securities said he believed a match up between IDT and ALi would be a good fit, and beneficial for the whole Acer group, but had no concrete information on a pending deal. ALi is en route to an over-the-counter stock market listing. The company's debut on Taiwan's OTC market is scheduled for September, said Wu. ALi employs about 400 staff worldwide, and reported revenues of US$115 million in 1998. IDT reported US$540.2 million in revenues and a US$41.2 million loss in 1998. ®

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