General Automation Moves to Buy English Company

Continuing its growth-by-acquisition effort, General Automation Inc. of Anaheim tentatively agreed to buy Aston Technology Ltd., an English maker and distributor of business computers. Terms of the deal, expected to close later this year, were not disclosed.

Founded in 1983, Aston had sales last year of $4.8 million. The company sells computers throughout the United Kingdom, specializing in the legal, health care, education and vehicle fleet management markets.

Like General Automation products, Aston's computer systems use the Pick operating system, a database management system known for tracking and cross-referencing large volumes of data. Aston products also use the BOS and UNIX operating systems. The acquisition is subject to a final agreement, compliance with regulatory requirements and the approval of both firms' boards.

General Automation Chairman Leonard N. Mackenzie said Aston would be folded into the company's subsidiary in England, General Automation Ltd.

"The acquisition of Aston will open to GA new markets in which we are not currently represented, and will strengthen our efforts in markets that we already serve," Mackenzie said. "That means corporate expansion--and expanded opportunities for GA/Aston employees and management."

The Aston purchase would be the second for General Automation this year. In April, the company bought Parallel Computers, a Santa Cruz computer maker.

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