Times Staff and Wire Reports

Samsung Triples AST Aid Package: Christmas came a few days early for Irvine-based AST Research Inc. as the troubled company got $300 million in financial support from Samsung Electronics, triple the size of the package the companies had agreed upon in preliminary negotiations last month. As part of the deal, Samsung will provide AST with a bank credit guarantee of as much as $200 million for two years, as well as an additional $100 million to cover AST's purchases of computer components from Samsung. In return, AST will grant Samsung a five-year option to purchase as many as 4.4 million shares of AST common stock for 1 cent a share. If Samsung were to exercise all those options, its stake in AST would grow to 45% from 40%.

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