Reuters reports that ailing computer group Bull is in advanced talks to sell its CP8 smart card unit.
A spokeswoman for Bull told the news agency that the company was in advanced talks to sell either all of CP8 or a majority share to another smart card group in France or abroad and was still deciding between a number of options.
CP8 accounts for about five percent of Bull's turnover, which reached 3.8 billion euros in 1999, the spokeswoman told Reuters.
The Reuters report follows a news item in the Wall Street Journal which said Bull hoped to complete the sale of its CP8 unit within two weeks and would settle for less than the 500 million euros it originally hoped for in order to seal a deal quickly. The sale is an important element in a wide-ranging restructuring and rescue plan announced by the company in November.
Media reports have fingered France's Gemplus, Oberthur Card Systems and Schlumberger Test & Transaction unit as the most likely candidates for the division.