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Compaq owed $94 million by Inacom

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Compaq yesterday said it was owed $94 million by Inacom - the US distributor that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week.

Compaq claims Inacom has been withholding payments for computers and services since the PC manufacturer bought Inacom's distribution business in February, today's Wall Street Journal reports.

In a tit-for-tat move Compaq decided to withhold $43 million in fees that it owed to Inacom.

Compaq now wants to be able to keep this $43 million, and is also asking to be paid a further $51 million from Inacom it claims is also outstanding. As a result, Big Q has filed an objection to Inacom's bankruptcy protection.

It wants to have the $51 million returned as "misdirected funds" instead of having it classified as part of Atlanta-based Inacom's unsecured debt.

However, Compaq may be out of luck in its quest for preferential treatment over other creditors. "The banks say [Compaq] has to get in line with everyone else," an Inacom representative told the WSJ.

Inacom filed for court protection from creditors under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code on Friday. It is ceasing operations, and listed assets of $956.6 million and debts of $560.7 million.

Inacom's collapse has also thrown worldwide reseller consortium International Computer Group (ICG) into disarray. The group, which includes UK reseller Computacenter, used Inacom as its sole distributor in the US. Phil Williams, Computacenter head of corporate development, said ICG was currently talking to other parties to take over Inacom's contract. It expects to announce a replacement within a week.

In related news, Specialist Computer Centre (SCC) has left its longstanding position in reseller consortium ACSL. ®

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