TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: WebEx Communications Purchases

WebEx Communications Purchases

Eric Auchard (
Tue, 2 Aug 2005 13:54:54 -0500

By Eric Auchard

WebEx Communications Inc. a Provider of Online business meetings, on
Monday said it agreed to buy privately held for about
$45 million in cash, seeking to target small business clients.

WebEx, which has typically focused on helping big customers such as
Boeing and the Defense Department conduct meetings online, said the
acquisition of helps WebEx expand to serve organizations
of under 100 employees. of Burlington, Massachusetts offers communication
services to more than 300,000 paying subscribers and 10,000

"This is all about unlocking the wide(r) strategy of going after
100-person (or less) companies," WebEx president Bill Heil said in a
phone interview., which was founded by a group of ex-Lotus Development
Corp. employees in 1997 after IBM (NYSE:IBM - news) acquired Lotus,
provides collaborative software that allows teams of people to
collaborate remotely on projects.

Santa Clara-based WebEx has been gaining market share in the
fragmented market for video conferencing in recent years, in spite of
the entry of Microsoft Corp. two years ago after it acquired WebEx
rival PlaceWare.

A study by Frost & Sullivan found WebEx held 60 percent of the online
meeting market in 2004. With revenue growth of 23 percent this year,
WebEx is growing faster than the online meeting market, which analysts
estimate is growing 18 percent.

WebEx has begun targeting the consumer and small business market with
a new offering it calls MyWebEx.

Both WebEx and share a common sales approach, which
includes billing customers a recurring monthly subscription fee. Both
offer their software as hosted services that customers use over the
Internet, Heil said.

WebEx offers online meetings, while Intranets offers a set of online
office software tools, including databases, calendaring, scheduling
and other project management tools.

The deal has been unanimously approved by the board of
directors of each company, the two companies said in a statement. The
transaction is expected to close in the current quarter, subject to
customary closing conditions.

WebEx shares rose 1 percent to close at $28.89 in Nasdaq trading ahead
of the announcement of the deal. The shares were unchanged in
after-hours trading.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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