Moneybiz - Microsoft on the Verge of a BEE Deal
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Microsoft on the Verge of a BEE Deal Saturday, 11 Mar 2000

Microsoft BEE dealMicrosoft and the department of trade and industry are on the verge of making an announcement about the software company�s long-awaited black economic empowerment �equity equivalence� deal.
Sources close to the deal say an announcement is imminent and could happen as soon as Monday.

Microsoft�s specially tailored R472m empowerment plan has been in the pipeline since early last year, and will result in the US software giant pumping about R70m/year into between five and 10 black-led and black-owned software development houses.
Like other US companies, Microsoft can�t sell a stake in its SA operation for regulatory and other reasons. The department and Microsoft instead worked out the investment plan to bolster its empowerment credentials.
The announcement of the first winning companies was initially planned for August last year and again for mid-February this year. However, red tape delayed the announcements, with the department getting involved to make sure the chosen companies would get a fair deal.

At the time, Microsoft SA MD Mteto Nyati said the department was doing the right thing, although he would have liked to see the deal come to fruition sooner.

�They have to make sure that the companies we have chosen will get the best out of the investment,� he said.

It now appears that all the details have been ironed out with the department. It�s expected to announce the names of four or five firms, with further names to follow later in the year.

Microsoft received 650 applications from companies interested in benefiting from the investment programme.

KPMG has assisted the software company in the process. Representatives of the Black Management Forum and the Centre for Entrepreneurship helped in making the final selection. � Candice Jones, TechCentral

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