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Tulip tries to buy back Commodore brand

Wants to get back into 'entertainment' products

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Dutch manufacturer Tulip Computers has announced it wants to buy back the Commodore brand it sold to Yeahronimo Media Ventures in 2004 for €22m. The computer maker is planning to bid $1 a share for the US computer firm Commodore, valuing the company at $81m.

Commodore, best known for its legendary Commodore 64 computer in the 1980s, declared bankruptcy in 1994. However, the brand simply refused to die.

German retailer then Escom paid $14m for Commodore International, primarily for the Commodore brand name. It separated the Commodore and Amiga operations into separate divisions, and quickly started using the brand name on a line of PCs sold in Europe.

In 1997, Tulip took over Escom and announced it would re-launch the Commodore name. It even threatened legal action against commercial sites that used the name without a licence. However, for many years very little happened, and late 2004 Tulip sold the Commodore name to Yeahronimo.

On its own, Commodore tried to create a niche in the digital entertainment marketplace with its range of Gravel consumer electronics, including portable media players, and entry-level MP3 players.

Separately, a Commodore subsidiary, Commodore Gaming, this year revived the brand for a line of high-end gaming PCs. It's not clear whether Tulip is hoping to get its hands on these too.

Tulip said that the buy-back "fits in our strategy of increasing our sales base through takeovers". The former manufacturer of PC clones these days offer tailor-made corporate products, including PaceBlade Tablet PCs and Dynalink communications equipment.

"Entertainment products are getting more important," a spokesman told The Register. "This is certainly an area we want to invest in."

However, Commodore still wants to explore its own possibilities of expansion, but have agreed to a due dilligence.

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