Tulip tries to buy back Commodore brand

Wants to get back into 'entertainment' products

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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