Olivetti buys 49 percent stake in Acorn Computers Ltd.

20th February 1985
Olivetti buys 49 percent stake in Acorn Computers Ltd.

On 20th February 1985, Italian company Olivetti bought a 49% stake in Acorn Computers Ltd for £12 million.

At the start of 1985, Acorn were in financial difficulties. Sales of its popular BBC Micro were dwindling in the UK, an attempt to expand into the US market ran into expensive regulatory issues, and spending on new projects was increasing.

The agreement with Olivetti allowed Acorn to clear its £11 million losses made in the previous six months.

The April 1985 edition of Acorn User reported the deal as follows, under the headline "Olivetti sort out Acorn":

At 2.30 in the morning of February 20, Hermann Hauser and Chris Curry, the two founders of Acorn, signed away their controlling interest to the Italian company Olivetti.

Olivetti’s stake will cost about £12 million, three-quarters of which will be used to allow for the reduction of value in stock caused by pricecutting, and losses in the USA and Germany. Acorn has announced that its total losses for the six months to January will be £11m.

This agreement will be put to Acorn shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting in the next month.

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