New owner Beny Alagem hopes AST will be selling servers, PCs and notebooks into the UK within six months.
The co-founder of Packard Bell announced last week that he was buying a controlling interest of 65% of the AST brand from the Samsung subsidiary AST Research.
Samsung sold him the controlling interest in AST for $12.5 million (#7.6 million), a considerable loss on the $500 million (#305 million) Samsung is believed to have paid for AST in two stages in 1994 and 1997.
AST still manufactures PCs and PC servers in the US, but since July 1998 has only sold rebranded Samsung notebooks into the European market. Under the deal with Alagem, those notebooks will remain under the ownership of Samsung and the new company, AST Computers, will source notebooks from third parties Japan and Taiwan.
Alagem claims the AST brand recognition is still strong, but admits that it will be no mean task to take the company back to its glory days. "It could be extremely costly, but also extremely rewarding - look at Steve Jobs - he also took over a company that was going through a slump," he told PC Week.
The new company will focus on the consumer and small to medium business market place. Marketing will focus on the Internet PC.
AST will continue to sell through retailers and resellers, but will also sell over the Internet.
From February, Samsung's notebooks will rebranded under its own name.
If Samsung branded notebooks sell well in Europe, it could pave the way for the introduction of servers and PCs which are available in Korea, the company said.
"If we are successful in Europe with notebooks then we could look at doing servers and desktops but there are no immediate plans," said Matthew Street, European marketing manager at Samsung's computer division.
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