(Packard Bell, The Netherlands, www.packardbell.com) A major PC manufacturer that is the consumer brand of NEC Computers International and the home computing market leader in the U.K. and much of Western Europe. Packard Bell's history dates back to 1926 when it was founded as a consumer radio manufacturer and later entered the defense electronics industry. It was acquired by Teledyne in 1968. In 1986, Beny Alagem and a group of partners acquired the Packard Bell name from Teledyne and formed Packard Bell Electronics. This company pioneered sales into the mass-market retail chains in the late 1980s and was the first to offer toll-free support to end users. In 1995, Packard Bell acquired Zenith Data Systems and, in 1996, merged with NEC's personal computer operations to become Packard Bell NEC. NEC reorganized its PC business worldwide in 2000, with Packard Bell closing its U.S. offices and focusing exclusively on Europe's consumer market. See NEC.