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February 5, 2003

Bank One to sell HDW to Thyssen- Krupp?
Leading German shipbuilder HDW may not be American-owned much longer.

Authoritative German newspaper Die Welt reported today that Bank One's OEP (One Equity Partners) unit is in talks with Thyssen-Krupp, whose shipyard interests include Blohm + Voss.

Any deal will have to clear Germany's Cartel office.According to the newspaper, a two-step take over is in the works, with Thyssen-Krupp slated to initially acquire 50% of HDW plus one share in April 2004.

Longer term, it's envisaged that a rationalization of Thyssen-Krupp's shipbuilding interests will see Blohn+Voss concentrating on surface ships and HDW on submarines.

Bank One's OEP acquired HDW for around Euros 900 million last year. Some observers believe that the Chicago-based Bank One was in some way acting as a front for Northrop Grumman, or that it saw Northrop Grumman as an eager customer for the yard, which is a world leader in non-nuclear submarine technology. The problem here is that the German government is adamant about enforcing its ban on export of submarines, or submarine technology, to Taiwan.

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