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eMachines founder offers $450m for... eMachines

Gateway board mulling offer for retail business

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China-born tech entrepeneur and eMachines founder Lap Shun Hui has confirmed he is offering $450m for Gateway's retail business.

Gateway said today it is reviewing an unsolicited expression of interest from Hui. An approach was first made 3 August, but Gateway did not "constructively engage in discussions", according to Hui's letter to the board.

Gateway acquired budget PC brand eMachines in 2004. After closing its Gateway-branded stores, the firm's retail business is now done by flogging cheap eMachines PCs through partner shops.

Hui encouraged Gateway to separate its retail business from other operations to return to profitability. Earlier this month, Gateway, the third largest US PC builder, reported a Q2 loss of $7.7m on revenues of $919m.

Rumours in June suggested Hui wanted to get back into the PC game by buying Packard Bell from NEC.

Hui's offer currently stands at $1.21 per share. Gateway's stock jumped more than 12 per cent on Wall Street yesterday, closing at $1.72. ®

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