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Dixons buys a piece of Sugar's e-m@iler

Finger on the tech pulse, apparently

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Dixons Group has bought 20 per cent of Amserve -the Amstrad subsidiary responsible for the "E-m@iler"machine.

The 15 million pounds deal is split two ways - the retail giant is paying 3 million pounds cash, while also agreeing to provide a service support and distribution package - courtesy of its 1,000 UK shops - valued at 12 million pounds.

A national press advertising campaign which "will focus on the unique benefits of the E-mailer;" is also on the cards, Dixons said - something the company has included in the 12 million pound offer. This will target "non-computer literate consumers," the retailer added.

Sir Alan Sugar, Amstrad chairman, described Dixons as "the perfect partner for Amserve".

"The company is always at the forefront of new technology distribution and its store staff are probably the best equipped in the UK for demonstrating and selling the new E-mailer,"he said.

Dixons - and its stores The Link, Curry's and PC World - and Argos are the only retailers in the UK currently selling the Em@iler device -and Dixons will not win exclusive rights to the products thanks to today's 15 million deal, a Dixons representative told The Register.

"There is a definite pent up demand in the market for a product that will give non-technical people really easy access to e-mail services," John Clare, Dixons CEO, said in a statement. "Once again, Sir Alan has shown that he has his finger on the pulse of high tech products."

Consumer interest for the e-mailer, launched in March, had been "intense", Amstrad said today. Although no actual sales figures were released, the company compared demand "with that created by the Amstrad word processor".

Amserve was formed this year to look after business generated by the e-m@iler, which generates revenue from unit sales, advertising and e-mail traffic. ®

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