The General Electric Company plc
Overview
 
The General Electric Company or GEC was a major British-based industrial conglomerate, involved in consumer and defence
Defense contractor
A defense contractor is a business organization or individual that provides products or services to a military department of a government. Products typically include military aircraft, ships, vehicles, weaponry, and electronic systems...

 electronics, communications and engineering. The company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index
FTSE 100 Index
The FTSE 100 Index, also called FTSE 100, FTSE, or, informally, the footsie , is a share index of the 100 most highly capitalised UK companies listed on the London Stock Exchange....

. It was renamed Marconi Corporation plc in 1999 after its defence arm, Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems , or GEC-Marconi as it was until 1998, was the defence arm of The General Electric Company . It was demerged from GEC and acquired by British Aerospace on November 30, 1999 to form BAE Systems...

 was amalgamated with British Aerospace
British Aerospace
British Aerospace plc was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was in the Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire...

 to form BAE Systems
BAE Systems
BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

. In 2005 Ericsson
Ericsson
Ericsson , one of Sweden's largest companies, is a provider of telecommunication and data communication systems, and related services, covering a range of technologies, including especially mobile networks...

 purchased the bulk of Marconi plc with the remainder of the business renamed Telent.
GEC traces its origins to G.
Encyclopedia
The General Electric Company or GEC was a major British-based industrial conglomerate, involved in consumer and defence
Defense contractor
A defense contractor is a business organization or individual that provides products or services to a military department of a government. Products typically include military aircraft, ships, vehicles, weaponry, and electronic systems...

 electronics, communications and engineering. The company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index
FTSE 100 Index
The FTSE 100 Index, also called FTSE 100, FTSE, or, informally, the footsie , is a share index of the 100 most highly capitalised UK companies listed on the London Stock Exchange....

. It was renamed Marconi Corporation plc in 1999 after its defence arm, Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems , or GEC-Marconi as it was until 1998, was the defence arm of The General Electric Company . It was demerged from GEC and acquired by British Aerospace on November 30, 1999 to form BAE Systems...

 was amalgamated with British Aerospace
British Aerospace
British Aerospace plc was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was in the Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire...

 to form BAE Systems
BAE Systems
BAE Systems plc is a British multinational defence, security and aerospace company headquartered in London, United Kingdom, that has global interests, particularly in North America through its subsidiary BAE Systems Inc. BAE is among the world's largest military contractors; in 2009 it was the...

. In 2005 Ericsson
Ericsson
Ericsson , one of Sweden's largest companies, is a provider of telecommunication and data communication systems, and related services, covering a range of technologies, including especially mobile networks...

 purchased the bulk of Marconi plc with the remainder of the business renamed Telent.

Early years

GEC traces its origins to G. Binswanger and Company, an electrical goods wholesaler established in London during the 1880s by a German immigrant Gustav Binswanger (later Gustav Byng). Regarded as the year GEC was founded, 1886 saw Byng joined by a fellow immigrant, Hugo Hirst
Baron Hirst
Hugo Hirst, 1st Baron Hirst , known as Sir Hugo Hirst, Bt, between 1925 and 1934, was a German-born British industrialist....

, and the company changed its name to The General Electric Apparatus Company (G. Binswanger).

This small business found early success with its unorthodox method of supplying electrical components over the counter. Hugo Hirst was an entrepreneurial salesman who foresaw the potential of electricity and was able to direct standardisation of an industry in its infancy. He travelled across Europe with an eye for the latest products and in 1887 the company published the first electrical catalogue of its kind. The following year the company acquired its first factory in Salford where telephone
Telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

s, electric bell
Electric bell
An electric bell is a mechanical bell that functions by means of an electromagnet. When an electric current is applied, it produces a repetitive buzzing or clanging sound...

s, ceiling rose
Ceiling rose
In the United Kingdom and Australia, a ceiling rose is a decorative element affixed to the ceiling from which a chandelier or light fitting is often suspended...

s and switch
Switch
In electronics, a switch is an electrical component that can break an electrical circuit, interrupting the current or diverting it from one conductor to another....

es were manufactured.

Incorporation

In 1889, the business was incorporated as a private company known as General Electric Company Ltd. The company was expanding rapidly, opening new branches and factories and trading in 'Everything Electrical', a phrase that was to become synonymous with GEC. In 1893, GEC decided to invest in lamp manufacture. The resulting company, (to become Osram
Osram
Osram, founded 1919, is part of the industry sector of Siemens AG and one of the two leading lighting manufacturers in the world. The name is derived from osmium and Wolfram , as both these elements were commonly used for lighting filaments at the time the company was founded...

 in 1909), was to lead the way in lamp design and the burgeoning demand for electric lighting was to make GEC's fortune. In 1900, GEC was incorporated as a public limited company
Public limited company
A public limited company is a limited liability company that sells shares to the public in United Kingdom company law, in the Republic of Ireland and Commonwealth jurisdictions....

, The General Electric Company (1900) Ltd, (the '1900' was dropped three years later). In 1902, GEC's first purpose-built factory, the Witton Engineering Works was opened near Birmingham.

With the death of Gustav Byng in 1910, Hugo Hirst became Chairman as well as Managing Director, a position he had assumed in 1906. Hirst's shrewd investment in lamp manufacture was proving extremely profitable and in 1909 Osram began production of the most successful tungsten filament lamps in the industry. Rapidly growing private and commercial use of electricity ensured buoyant demand and the company expanded both at home and overseas, with the establishment of agencies in Europe, Japan, Australia, South Africa and India and a substantial export trade to South America

World Wars

The outbreak of World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 transformed GEC into a major player in the electrical industry with profits to match. The company was heavily involved in the war effort, with products such as radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

s, signal lamp
Signal lamp
A signal lamp is a visual signaling device for optical communication . Modern signal lamps are a focused lamp which can produce a pulse of light...

s and arc-lamp
Arc lamp
"Arc lamp" or "arc light" is the general term for a class of lamps that produce light by an electric arc . The lamp consists of two electrodes, first made from carbon but typically made today of tungsten, which are separated by a gas...

 carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

s (used in searchlight
Searchlight
A searchlight is an apparatus that combines a bright light source with some form of curved reflector or other optics to project a powerful beam of light of approximately parallel rays in a particular direction, usually constructed so that it can be swiveled about.-Military use:The Royal Navy used...

s).

Between the wars, GEC expanded to become an international corporation and a national institution. The take-over of Fraser and Chalmers in 1918 took GEC into heavy engineering and consolidated their claim to supply 'Everything Electrical'.

During the 1920s, the company was heavily involved in the creation of the UK National Grid. The opening of the new purpose built company headquarters in Kingsway, London in 1921, and the pioneering industrial research laboratories at Wembley
Wembley
Wembley is an area of northwest London, England, and part of the London Borough of Brent. It is home to the famous Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena...

 in 1923, were symbolic of the continuing expansion of both GEC and the electrical industry.

During World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, GEC was a major supplier to the military of electrical and engineering products. Significant contributions to the war effort included the development in 1940 of the cavity magnetron
Cavity magnetron
The cavity magnetron is a high-powered vacuum tube that generates microwaves using the interaction of a stream of electrons with a magnetic field. The 'resonant' cavity magnetron variant of the earlier magnetron tube was invented by John Randall and Harry Boot in 1940 at the University of...

 for radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

, by the scientists John Randall
John Randall (physicist)
Sir John Turton Randall, FRS, FRSE, was a British physicist and biophysicist, credited with radical improvement of the cavity magnetron, an essential component of centimetric wavelength radar, which was one of the keys to the Allied victory in the Second World War. It is also the key component of...

 and Harry Boot
Harry Boot
Henry Albert Howard "Harry" Boot was an English physicist who with Sir John Randall and James Sayers developed the cavity magnetron, which was one of the keys to the Allied victory in the Second World War.-Biography:...

, at the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
The University of Birmingham is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Birmingham, England. It received its royal charter in 1900 as a successor to Birmingham Medical School and Mason Science College . Birmingham was the first Redbrick university to gain a charter and thus...

, and advances in communications technology and the ongoing mass production of valves
Vacuum tube
In electronics, a vacuum tube, electron tube , or thermionic valve , reduced to simply "tube" or "valve" in everyday parlance, is a device that relies on the flow of electric current through a vacuum...

, lamps and lighting equipment.

The post-war years witnessed a slow down in GEC's expansion. Following the death of Hugo Hirst in 1943, his son-in-law, Leslie Gamage, along with Harry Railing took over as joint Managing Directors. Despite the demand for electrical consumer goods and large investments in heavy engineering and nuclear power, profits began to fall for the first time in the face of increasing competition and internal disorganisation.

Expansion

In 1961, GEC merged with Sir Michael Sobell's
Michael Sobell
Sir Michael Sobell was a British businessman, a major philanthropist, and a prominent owner/breeder of thoroughbred racehorses....

 Radio & Allied Industries Ltd, and with it emerged the new power behind GEC, Sobell's son-in-law Arnold Weinstock
Arnold Weinstock
Arnold Weinstock, Baron Weinstock was an English businessman whom The Guardian newspaper called "Britain's premier post-second-world-war industrialist."...

 (later Lord Weinstock), who became Managing Director in 1963, moving the headquarters of the electrical giant from Kingsway (in Holborn, London), to a modern building at 1 Stanhope Gate (near Hyde Park Corner, in Mayfair, London).

Weinstock embarked on a programme to rationalise the whole of the UK electrical industry, but began with the interior rejuvenation of GEC. In a drive for efficiency, Weinstock made both cut-backs and implemented mergers injecting new growth into the company. GEC returned to profit and the financial markets' confidence was restored.

In the late 1960s, the electrical industry was revolutionised as GEC acquired Associated Electrical Industries
Associated Electrical Industries
Associated Electrical Industries was a British holding company formed in 1928 through the merger of the British Thomson-Houston Company and Metropolitan-Vickers electrical engineering companies...

 (AEI) in 1967, which encompassed Metropolitan-Vickers
Metropolitan-Vickers
Metropolitan-Vickers, Metrovick, or Metrovicks, was a British heavy electrical engineering company of the early-to-mid 20th century formerly known as British Westinghouse. Highly diversified, they were particularly well known for their industrial electrical equipment such as generators, steam...

, British Thomson-Houston
British Thomson-Houston
British Thomson-Houston was a British engineering and heavy industrial company, based at Rugby, Warwickshire, England. They were known primarily for their electrical systems and steam turbines. They were merged with the similar Metropolitan-Vickers company in 1928, but the two maintained their own...

 (BTH), Edison Swan, Siemens Bros, Hotpoint
Hotpoint
The Hotpoint Electric Heating Company is a British brand of domestic appliances. The brand is currently fully owned by Italy's Indesit....

, W.T. Henley, and Birlec.

In 1968, GEC merged with English Electric
English Electric
English Electric was a British industrial manufacturer. Founded in 1918, it initially specialised in industrial electric motors and transformers...

, incorporating Elliott Brothers
Elliott Brothers (computer company)
-Elliott Brothers Ltd:Elliott Brothers Ltd was an early computer company of the 1950s–60s in the United Kingdom, tracing its descent from a firm of instrument makers founded by William Elliott in London around 1804. The research laboratories were based at Borehamwood, originally set up in...

, the Marconi Company
Marconi Company
The Marconi Company Ltd. was founded by Guglielmo Marconi in 1897 as The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company...

, Ruston & Hornsby, Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns
Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns Ltd was a locomotive builder with works in North East England.-History:The company was formed in September 1937 when Robert Stephenson and Company, which was based in Darlington took over the locomotive building department of Hawthorn Leslie and Company, based in...

 and the Vulcan Foundry
Vulcan Foundry
Vulcan Foundry was a British locomotive builder sited at Newton-le-Willows, Lancashire .-History:It was originally opened in 1832 as Charles Tayleur and Company to produce girders for bridges, switches and crossings, and other ironwork following the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway...

, Willans & Robinson and Dick, Kerr & Co.
Dick, Kerr & Co.
Dick, Kerr and Company was a locomotive and tramcar manufacturer based in Kilmarnock, Scotland and Preston, England.-Early history:Having previously been known as W.B.Dick and Company the company had built all kinds of tramway equipment and rolling stock. From 1883 the company joined with John Kerr...



The Witton works remained one of the Company's biggest sites producing HV Switchgear, HV transformers, 'small' motors, mercury arc rectifiers and traction components until its gradual selling off by Weinstock in 1969. The site remains as a business park to this day.

The company continued to expand, with the acquisition of W & T Avery Ltd.
W & T Avery Ltd.
W & T Avery Ltd. is a British manufacturer of weighing machines. The company was founded in the early 18th century and took the name W & T Avery in 1818. Having been taken over by GEC in 1979 the company was later renamed into GEC-Avery. The company became Avery Berkel in 1993 when GEC acquired the...

 in 1979.

In April 1981 GEC acquired Cincinnati Electronics (CE), located in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the time owned by George J Mealey, President and Chairman of the Board. CE was a leader in military Radios and Infrared Technology, Space Electronics and other high security products, doing business throughout the world. Now owned by L-3 Communications-Cincinnati Electronics.

In 1981, GEC acquired Picker Corporation, an American manufacturer of medical imaging equipment. It merged Picker with Cambridge Instruments, GEC Medical
GEC Medical
GEC Medical was a unit of the General Electric Company that was headquartered in what was known as East Lane Industrial Estate in North Wembley, behind the Hirst Research Centre which fronted East Lane....

, and American Optical to form Picker International. GEC Medical was itself an amalgamation of Watson & Sons Ltd - formed in the early 20th Century in London and long a part of GEC, and A E Dean & Co of Croydon. In 1982, it introduced the first 1.0T Magnetic resonance imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging , nuclear magnetic resonance imaging , or magnetic resonance tomography is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to visualize detailed internal structures...

 (MRI) unit. In 1998, it acquired the CT division of Elscint Ltd.
Elscint
Elscint Ltd. was an Israeli technology company that development, manufacture and sold medical imaging solutions, including: Nuclear medicine, computed tomography magnetic resonance imaging and X-ray scanners. Elscint's shares traded on the NASDAQ as well as on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange. At its...

  In 1999, the company changed its name to Marconi Medical Systems. In 2001, Marconi Medical Systems was purchased by Philips Electronics for $1.1 billion.

GEC had become Britain's largest private employer, with about ¼M employees in 1983. In 1984 GEC became one of the first 100 companies to enter the FTSE 100 Index
FTSE 100 Index
The FTSE 100 Index, also called FTSE 100, FTSE, or, informally, the footsie , is a share index of the 100 most highly capitalised UK companies listed on the London Stock Exchange....

, at which time it was ranked third behind British Petroleum
BP
BP p.l.c. is a global oil and gas company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest energy company and fourth-largest company in the world measured by revenues and one of the six oil and gas "supermajors"...

 and Shell Transport and Trading
Royal Dutch Shell
Royal Dutch Shell plc , commonly known as Shell, is a global oil and gas company headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands and with its registered office in London, United Kingdom. It is the fifth-largest company in the world according to a composite measure by Forbes magazine and one of the six...

 with a market capitalisation of £4.915 billion. In 1985 it acquired Yarrow shipbuilders
YSL
YSL may mean* Yarrow Shipbuilders Ltd* Yves Saint Laurent * Yves Saint Laurent * St. Leonard Airport, St. Leonard, New Brunswick, Canada* A brand of cigarette sold by Japan Tobacco* Yamaha's model code for trombones...

 from British Shipbuilders
British Shipbuilders
British Shipbuilders Corporation was a public corporation that owned and managed the shipbuilding industry in England and Scotland from 1977 and through the 1980s...

.

The late 1980s witnessed some major mergers within the electrical industry, with the creation of GEC-Plessey Telecommunications (GPT) by GEC and Plessey
Plessey
The Plessey Company plc was a British-based international electronics, defence and telecommunications company. It originated in 1917, growing and diversifying into electronics. It expanded after the second world war by acquisition of companies and formed overseas companies...

 in 1988. The following year GEC and Siemens
Siemens
Siemens may refer toSiemens, a German family name carried by generations of telecommunications industrialists, including:* Werner von Siemens , inventor, founder of Siemens AG...

 formed a joint company, GEC Siemens plc, to take over the Plessey Company. As part of the deal GEC took control of Plessey's avionics and naval systems businesses.

In 1989 GEC and Compagnie Générale d'Electricité (CGE) merged their power generation and transport business in a new joint venture, GEC-ALSTHOM
Alstom
Alstom is a large multinational conglomerate which holds interests in the power generation and transport markets. According to the company website, in the years 2010-2011 Alstom had annual sales of over €20.9 billion, and employed more than 85,000 people in 70 countries. Alstom's headquarters are...

.

The movement towards electronics and modern technology, particularly in the defence sector, marked a change in direction away from the domestic electrical goods market. GEC acquired the defence electronics division of Ferranti
Ferranti
Ferranti or Ferranti International plc was a UK electrical engineering and equipment firm that operated for over a century from 1885 until it went bankrupt in 1993. Known primarily for defence electronics, the Company was once a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index but ceased trading in 1993.The...

 in 1990 and Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd. (VSEL) in 1995. VSEL was willing to participate in a merger with a larger company to reduce its exposure to cycles in warship production, particularly following the "Options for Change
Options for Change
Options for Change was a restructuring of the British Armed Forces in 1990, aimed at cutting defence spending following the end of the Cold War....

" defence review following the end of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. Following GEC's purchase VSEL became Marconi Marine (VSEL).

Lord Weinstock retired as Managing Director in 1996 and was replaced by George Simpson
George Simpson, Baron Simpson of Dunkeld
George Simpson, Baron Simpson of Dunkeld is a Labour member of the House of Lords. He was made a Life peer as Baron Simpson of Dunkeld, of Dunkeld in Perth and Kinross in 1997. In the late 1980s and early 1990s Simpson gained a reputation for turning around struggling companies...

. In July 1997 GEC announced the result of a major review; the company would move away from its joint ventures and focus on moving toward "global leadership" in defence and aerospace (Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems
Marconi Electronic Systems , or GEC-Marconi as it was until 1998, was the defence arm of The General Electric Company . It was demerged from GEC and acquired by British Aerospace on November 30, 1999 to form BAE Systems...

 - MES), industrial electronics (GEC Industrial Electronics) and communications (GEC Communications
Marconi Communications
Marconi Communications was a principal subsidiary of the Marconi Corporation plc and was formerly known as GEC Plessey Telecommunications . The company was a world leading telecommunications manufacturer...

).

Early in 1998 GEC announced the merger of its radar and avionics business with and Alenia Difesa to form Alenia Marconi Systems
Alenia Marconi Systems
Alenia Marconi Systems was a major European integrated defence electronics company and an equal shares joint venture between BAE Systems and Finmeccanica until its dissolution on May 3, 2005....

. In February 1998, Marconi Instruments
Marconi Instruments
Marconi Instruments was a British company, one of the Marconi group of companies, formerly part of GEC. The company was based in St Albans, Colchester and Stevenage . Prior to the consolidation in Stevenage, its main site was at Longacres on the eastern outskirts of St Albans, where it was the...

, the test equipment arm of GEC, was sold to IFR Systems.

In June 1998, GEC completed the $1.4bn acquisition of major American defence contractor Tracor
Tracor
Tracor was a major North American defense electronics contractor which was acquired by Marconi Electronic Systems , a subsidiary of General Electric Company plc, in 1998. Following the purchase of MES by British Aerospace in November 1999 to form BAE Systems, Tracor became BAE Systems Integrated...

, which became part of MES.

Marconi Electronic Systems sale

Since October 1998, reports had been linking British Aerospace
British Aerospace
British Aerospace plc was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was in the Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire...

 (BAe) with the German aerospace group DASA
DASA
DaimlerChrysler Aerospace AG, or DASA, was the former aerospace subsidiary of Daimler-Benz AG from 1989...

. GEC was even seen as a potential partner in a three-way merger with BAe and DASA.

In December 1998, reports emerged that GEC was seeking a partner for MES, the value of which was greatly increased by the Tracor acquisition. Prospective partners included Thomson-CSF
Thomson-CSF
Thomson-CSF was a major electronics and defence contractor. In December 2000 it was renamed Thales Group.-History:In 1879 Elihu Thomson and Edwin Houston formed the Thomson-Houston Electric Company in the United States....

 (by 1998 on the path to privatisation) and various American defence contractors (e.g. Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

 and TRW
TRW
TRW Inc. was an American corporation involved in a variety of businesses, mainly aerospace, automotive, and credit reporting. It was a pioneer in multiple fields including electronic components, integrated circuits, computers, software and systems engineering. TRW built many spacecraft,...

).

GEC had already been active in pursuing consolidation in the defence business. In 1997 it made an ultimately unsuccessful proposal to the French government to privatise Thomson-CSF and merge it with MES.

The prospect of a merger of UK companies soon became the most likely development. In mid January 1999, GEC and British Aerospace
British Aerospace
British Aerospace plc was a UK aircraft, munitions and defence-systems manufacturer. Its head office was in the Warwick House in the Farnborough Aerospace Centre in Farnborough, Hampshire...

 confirmed they were holding talks and on 19 January it was announced that British Aerospace was to acquire Marconi Electronic Systems for £7.7bn ($12.75bn).

Transition to Marconi plc

While the deal was yet to be completed, GEC used much of the prospective proceeds of the MES sale to acquire companies during 1999. This was part of a major realignment of the firm to become a radio, telecommunications, and internet equipment manufacturing company. GEC purchased Reltec for £1.3bn in March, FORE Systems
FORE Systems
FORE Systems was a computer network switching equipment company based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The company is now part of Ericsson.-History:...

 for £2.8bn in April, and Mobile Systems International
Mobile Systems International
Founded in 1989 by Mo Ibrahim after he left Cellnet, Mobile Systems International provided consultancy, network planning and management application software to the wireless industry. In 1998 the company became known as MSI Metapath Software International. This was after a merger with Metapath...

 for £391m in April 2000. Also in 1999 GEC acquired Kvaerner's Govan
Govan
Govan is a district and former burgh now part of southwest City of Glasgow, Scotland. It is situated west of Glasgow city centre, on the south bank of the River Clyde, opposite the mouth of the River Kelvin and the district of Partick....

 shipyard. These acquisitions took place at very high prices shortly before the end of the Dot-com bubble
Dot-com bubble
The dot-com bubble was a speculative bubble covering roughly 1995–2000 during which stock markets in industrialized nations saw their equity value rise rapidly from growth in the more...

 and led to a collapse in the value of the company.

In 2005 shortly after the Company's failure to secure any part of 21CN, various bids were received for the business including one by Huawei Technologies
Huawei
Huawei is a Chinese multinational networking and telecommunications equipment and services company headquartered in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China...

 with whom Marconi already had a joint venture.

The majority of Marconi (including the name) was sold to Ericsson
Ericsson
Ericsson , one of Sweden's largest companies, is a provider of telecommunication and data communication systems, and related services, covering a range of technologies, including especially mobile networks...

 in 2005, and the remainder renamed Telent plc.

See also

  • Aerospace industry in the United Kingdom
  • GEC-Marconi scientist deaths conspiracy theory
  • GEC Computers Limited
    GEC Computers
    GEC Computers Limited was the computer manufacturing company under the GEC holding company.-History:Starting life as Elliott Automation, the data processing computer products were transferred to ICT/ICL and non-computing products to English Electric as part of a reorganisation of the parent company...


Further reading

  • Anatomy of a Merger - A History of GEC, AEI and English Electric, by Robert Jones and Oliver Marriott, Published by Jonathan Cape, 1970, ISBN 0-224-61872-5
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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