Millard Says He Wants to Sell ComputerLand Interest
HAYWARD, Calif. (AP) _ ComputerLand Corp. founder William Millard, who lost a lawsuit involving the company, says he wants to sell his 96 percent interest in the world’s largest computer retail chain.
Millard announced his intentions on Tuesday to sell his ComputerLand stake from his new home on Saipan, one of the Northern Mariana Islands.
After Millard’s announcement, ComputerLand issued a statement that said, ″It is not surprising that he is selling his holdings″ considering that he has been removed from day-to-day management for six months.
A court decision last year awarded a 20 percent stake in ComputerLand and $141.5 million in punitive damages to an investor group, MicroVest Corp. The value of the 20 percent stake has been estimated at $100 million to $300 million.
No potential buyers have been named for the ComputerLand store network that includes more than 600 outlets in the United States and about 250 in 23 foreign countries, making it the largest in the world.
″There are a number of companies interested in expanding their operations in the computer field,″ said Terry Giles, an attorney for Millard.
MicroVest might have rights to approve the sale of Millard’s stock because 35 percent of the stock was placed in trust to protect MicroVest’s interests while Millard is appealing the verdict.
Herbert Hafif, a lawyer for MicroVest in Claremont, Calif., released a statement Tuesday saying: ″If properly handled, a sale could be a very successful and viable alternative for all parties. Such discusssions have taken place, but other than that, we can’t comment.″
MicroVest had sued Millard, contending that a 9-year-old, $250,000 promissory note from 1976 that Millard never honored contained a clause that allowed them to convert the note into a 20 percent stake in the company. The jury agreed. Millard relinquished operating control of ComputerLand in September and resigned from the board of directors.
Millard, through his holding company, IMS Associates Inc., faces $131.5 million in punitive damages. MicroVest in December waived $10 million in damages awarded to it against ComputerLand.
If successful, Millard’s sale would supersede plans for a public offering of ComputerLand stock. Those plans emerged late last year as part of a settlement allowing Millard to appeal the jury award to MicroVest.
Meanwhile, Millard also unveiled a new venture for the South Pacific islands - a utility that he is helping organize with investors from Saipan.
The utility, tentatively to be named Commonwealth Utilities Corp., would replace public water, power and sewage services on the Northern Marianas, a U.S. trust territory in the South Pacific. Millard moved there in late March.