Diebold can't sell elections unit
Diebold Inc. confirmed on Thursday what had been widely speculated since January: That it tried and failed to sell its often criticized voting technology business.
Instead, the company said, it will allow the unit to operate more independently, giving it a separate board of directors and perhaps a new management structure.
Diebold did not rule out later selling part or all of the realigned business.
"By putting it at arm's length, they make it possible to spin this off at some point," said Gil Luria, an analyst with Wedbush Morgan Securities.
In a research note, Edward Wheeler, with Buckingham Research, said growth prospects in Diebold's core automated teller machine and security systems and services businesses remains solid and "on track with our expectations for accelerating momentum building over the next several years."
Diebold has often defended its voting machines and its own business intentions, even after its former chairman and chief executive, Wally O'Dell, sought with little success to convince critics his Republican politics and fundraising for President Bush were not the motive for the company's involvement in elections.