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    Supply Side

    News and notes from the industry's leading suppliers, including Rayovac, Pinnacle Corp. and Radiant Systems.

    Rayovac, Madison, Wis., and Varta AG of Hannover, Germany, signed an agreement to combine Varta's global consumer battery business with Rayovac. This all-cash transaction is expected to close in the fall of 2002 and is valued at $262 million.

    As part of the deal, Rayovac will acquire all of the Varta consumer subsidiaries located outside of Germany and will become the majority owner of a new joint venture entity that will conduct all consumer battery operations within Germany. The merger will make Rayovac one of the largest consumer battery companies in the world, the companies said.

    "This transaction is the most significant milestone in the history of Rayovac," said Dave Jones, Rayovac chairman and CEO. "Varta's battery technology and manufacturing/distribution infrastructure are state-of-the-art. Without question, combining Varta's consumer battery business with Rayovac's existing businesses will create a much stronger global competitor, selling in more than 100 countries worldwide. The combination of these businesses provides a strong platform for market growth, improved customer service and technology advancements for consumers."

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    Throwaway cell phones are set to make their debut on US convenience store shelves, down the aisle from plastic razors, beef jerky and disposable cameras they seek to emulate as spur-of-the-moment consumer purchases. Hop-On, a small company based in Garden Grove, California, said this week it had won US regulatory approval to sell its first phones, clearing the way for a nationwide introduction of a no-frills recyclable phone for prepaid mobile calling.

    In an interview with ZDNet News, Chairman and Chief Executive Peter Michaels said approval of the phones will allow Hop-On shortly to sell its stripped-down mobile phone and 60 minutes of initial service for a $40 flat fee, through an unnamed carrier. "We are going to launch pretty much immediately," starting first in Southern California and then rolling out across the United States over the next three months, Michaels said.

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    Pinnacle Corp., Arlington, Texas, announced the certification of its Palm Point of Sale, v6.x software for operation on Concord EFS Inc. systems.

    Palm POS is a 32-bit in-store point-of-sale system specifically designed for the convenience store and petroleum industries. Concord's network offering is available with the currently released version of the Palm Point of Sale software, so existing Palm clients can access the Concord network without having to upgrade their POS software.

    "Point of sale customers want open architecture, and they want flexibility in their choice of credit processing networks," said Pinnacle President Bob Johnson. "Pinnacle is committed to providing exactly that, and our certification on this important network represents both a significant achievement for us, and a meaningful opportunity for our existing and future
    clients."

    Pinnacle also unveiled a new corporate website, www.pinncorp.com. The new site features a complete graphic overhaul and enhanced navigation to provide easy access to information regarding Pinnacle's industry-leading products, plus a new in-depth discussion area addressing the implementation of technology solutions in the convenience store and retail/wholesale petroleum
    industries.

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    Radiant Systems Inc., said Business Machines Inc. (BMI) has joined Radiant's Elite Partner Program for technology resellers. BMI will sell, implement, and support Radiant 6e software as well as Radiant hardware solutions in Florida.

    "With 25 years of experience in the Florida quick service and table service markets, BMI has a very strong reputation and deep industry knowledge," says Lee Smith, vice president and general manager of Radiant's distribution channel. "Our partnership with BMI provides us with an excellent channel through which to offer the hospitality industry the functionality, value, and return on investment Radiant 6e can provide."

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    The Miller Brewing Co. is launching the Miller Time Network, www.MillerTimeNetwork.com, to provide legal-drinking-age consumers with the who, what, when, where and how for creating great times out with friends.

    A powerful search tool that seeks to engage consumers, the Miller Time Network lets users find and plan their own Miller Times with friends by searching six categories: Music, Bars & Clubs, Sports, Food, Movies and Miller Gigs. The site is a tool that gathers nationwide information about venues, events and movies, and not only filters it for information targeted specifically to 21-27 year-olds, but also combines it with useful tools such as "Get a Map," "Buy Tickets" and "Set a Reminder."

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    Deli Express, manufacturer of prepackaged sandwiches, has had a long-standing partnership with ConAgra Foods, using their products in popular Deli Express sandwiches. This summer, Deli Express began letting consumers know they have been using these high quality ingredients by co-branding select varieties with Armour Ham & Butterball Turkey, brands made by ConAgra Foods.

    "Deli Express sandwiches have always used the best quality ingredients," said CEO Tom Sween. "Now we are letting our retailers and consumers know that the brands they trust are also the brands we use -- and have for a long time. We're excited about this co-branding program with Armour and Butterball."

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