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Siemens Could Exit Fujitsu Venture

Wall Street Journal said that Munich-based Siemens had informed Fujitsu that it wanted out of the 9-year-old venture, Fujitsu Siemens Computers.

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) -- Siemens AG is close to leaving its long-running computer joint venture with Fujitsu Ltd., The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The newspaper, citing people familiar with the matter, said that Munich-based Siemens had informed Fujitsu that it wanted out of the 9-year-old venture, Fujitsu Siemens Computers, or FSC. Neither company would comment on the future of the arrangement.

Tokyo-based Fujitsu has the first right of refusal to buy Siemens' 50-percent stake in the company.

The Journal report said that one banker estimated the entire joint venture could be valued between 2 billion and 3 billion euros, ($3.1 billion to $4.7 billion).

According to Siemens, FSC had revenue of 6.6 billion euros ($10.2 billion) and pretax profit of just 105 million euros ($123 million) in 2007.

The joint venture, based in Maarssen, Netherlands, makes PCs, notebooks, servers, mainframes and digital home technology. It has four production facilities in Germany and one in California. In April, FSC had about 11,000 employees.

At a recent earnings news conference, Siemens' chief executive, Peter Loescher, declined to comment on direct questions about FSC, which was seen by some as an indication that Siemens did indeed have divestment plans. Loescher has indicated on other occasions he's not happy with the division's performance.

This week, Siemens said it would sell a majority stake in its cordless phone unit to German investment firm ARQUES Industries AG, part of its ongoing effort to refocus on more profitable businesses. Financial details of that deal weren't disclosed.

Siemens has been embattled by a corruption scandal and a large restructuring program that will cut nearly 17,000 jobs across the company.

Shares of Siemens were up 1 percent at in Frankfurt trading.

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