American Diversified Sells Phone Unit to Cue Paging

Times Staff Writer

American Diversified Savings Bank, the Costa Mesa savings and loan seized by federal and state regulators last year, has taken another step to generate cash by selling its DiversiCom national paging phone operation to a major Finnish conglomerate.

The cash transaction, announced Tuesday, was in the “low eight figures,” a DiversiCom official said.

In the deal, DiversiCom becomes part of Cue Paging Corp., a new subsidiary of Nokia Oy, Finland’s largest publicly traded concern, which has $3 billion in annual revenues. Another Nokia subsidiary, Nokia Mobzira Oy, makes the digital display pagers and was American Diversified’s supplier.

With the acquisition, Cue Paging become the first foreign-owned company to operate a communications system in the United States, said Bob Jaffe, chief executive of Sorento Associates Inc., the investment bankers in the transaction.


The purchase by Nokia Oy is widely viewed as part of the umbrella conglomerate’s plan to become better known outside its Finnish base and build its business worldwide.

American Diversified was declared insolvent by regulators in February, 1986. Since then, operating under managers appointed by regulators, the S&L; has trimmed its staff by about 300 employees to a total of 400. It is now selling about a dozen of its real estate investments and the bulk of its technical division.

DiversiCom was part of the S&L;'s “Tech Division,” which also invested in some of the untraditional assets--including a wind farm--that drew the wrath of state and federal regulators and contributed to the S&L;'s insolvency.

The sale of DiversiCom will allow American Diversified to save investment capital and “relieve ourselves of 25 to 30 employees” who will be transferred to Cue’s payroll, said Thomas Haupert, the S&L;'s chief executive.


Cue President Gene Swanzy said he plans to add about eight workers to the existing 25-person staff in Costa Mesa.

Four-year-old DiversiCom has about 5,000 subscribers in 85 U.S. cities and annual sales of about $4 million, Swanzy said. But it was losing about $3.5 million each year, he said.

Cue Paging was set up by Nokia to handle DiversiCom’s nationwide paging network. The Nokia Mobira unit, which produces pagers and cellular telephones, has annual sales of about $300 million, including about 15% of the worldwide market for cellular phones, Swanzy said.