Originally Published: Monday, 17 April 2000 Author: John Eastman
Published to: news_learn_support/Support News Page: 1/1 - [Std View]

Computone Signs Agreement to Acquire Multi-User Solutions

Computone Corporation said today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Multi-User Solutions, Ltd., of Norcross, a third party provider of service and support specializing in Linux(R), SCO(R) UNIX(R), Windows(R) NT, and other Open Systems.

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 17, 2000-- Atlanta Area Firms Merge to Serve Rapidly-Growing Market

Computone Corporation (OTC BB: CMPT) said today that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Multi-User Solutions, Ltd., of Norcross, a third party provider of service and support specializing in Linux(R), SCO(R) UNIX(R), Windows(R) NT, and other Open Systems.

Subject to certain conditions precedent, the acquisition is expected to close by the end of April.

Perry Pickerign, president and CEO of Computone, a pioneer in IT connectivity and remote access communications, said the merger of the companies will be "a major step in broadening the size, reach and offerings" of Computone. Pickerign said the agreement called for an aggregate consideration of $4 million in cash and 800,000 shares of Computone stock. In addition, Pickerign said the consideration is subject to an increase of up to $1.5 million dependent on the satisfaction of specified performance objectives.

Both Atlanta area companies have emerged as leaders serving the needs of the rapidly-growing marketplace of small and medium-size companies using SCO UNIX, Linux, Windows NT and other Open Systems solutions. Multi-User Solutions will operate as a subsidiary of Computone, with Darrin Sherrill, its co-founder, serving as COO and reporting to Pickerign.

Meeting the Need for a Full-Service Provider

"The growing marketplace had been hungry for a nationwide full-service provider who could both supply and support users," said Computone's Pickerign. "Now, the new combined Computone and Multi-User organization will more than meet those requirements. We believe it will be catalytic model for the service and support industry as well as Computone."

Founded in 1991 and privately-held, Multi-User Solutions (www.multiuser.com) provides operating system support, systems integration, and logistics management to customers of turnkey software vendors in North America. It supports and provides services to major software vendors and customers in more than 10,000 locations, focusing on Linux, SCO UNIX, Microsoft(R) Windows NT and Novell(R). The company has a long relationship with Santa Cruz Operations (SCO), which has some 70 percent of the UNIX marketplace on Intel(R) platforms, and was SCO's first Authorized Support Center (ASC) in North America. Multi-User completed fiscal 1999 with more than $9 million in revenues.

In 1999, Caldera(R) Systems, a leading distributor of Linux, named Multi-User as its first ASC, with the company also serving as its internal Help Desk on an interim basis, as well as providing telemarketing sales for support contracts. Multi-User has third-party agreements with IBM(R), NCR(R), Data General(R), USNET(R) and other major organizations to provide same-day and next-day service solutions, including overnight replacement and on-site service.

`Another Important Step in the Right Direction' for Computone

Pickerign called the pending acquisition of Multi-User Solutions "another important step in the right direction for Computone, dramatically improving efficiencies and profitability.

"Growing sales, increasing the profit picture, moving ahead and putting problems of the past behind are all important in making and keeping Computone a viable and exciting company in step with today's markets and times," Pickerign said.

Significant Revenue Stream and Profitability

Pickerign called Multi-User revenue stream "significant," noting that it was "many times greater than competitors such as Linuxcare(TM) -- plus having the added distinction of profitability." He said Multi-User's support contracts with SCO, Caldera and TurboLinux "show the company has earned its wings in a highly-competitive marketplace. Multi-User has been able to achieve profitability in its market niche, demonstrating the value of its proprietary tools, strength of its management team, and a sound execution of its strong business plan."

`Perfect Fit' with Computone

"Computone and Multi-User are perfect fit -- a great marriage," said Multi-User's Sherrill.. "We will have the same culture, the same strong work and service ethic, share a market focus and, more and more often, the same customers and strategic partnerships. Being part of Computone will give Multi-User the exposure and resources necessary to capitalize on current and emerging market opportunities."

Pickerign agreed, noting that "the acquisition will give Computone a distinct competitive advantage as we gain the ability to provide unparalleled service and support -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- and enable our resellers to differentiate themselves by providing 7x24 next day, on-site support to their customers as well.

"Together," he said, "the new Computone organization we will have a service reach in Linux, Unix, NT and beyond that greatly exceeds our competition, and while provides a platform for us to become a dominant player in this space."

A pioneer and leader in the worldwide IT industry since 1984, Computone Corporation (OTC BB: CMPT, www.computone.com) designs, manufactures and markets a comprehensive line of remote access communications servers for Internet, LAN/WAN and Windows NT/SCO UNIX/Linux and other Open Systems. Computone is also a leading producer of high-speed multiport I/O boards, serving vertical markets including healthcare, retail/point-of-sale, banking and financial, telecommunications, Internet service providers (ISPs), transportation, hospitality and education. Based in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Computone sells through a worldwide network of authorized and certified distributors. For the first nine months of fiscal 2000 ended December 31, 1999, Computone reported an increase of 29 percent in net sales over the same period in fiscal 1999.

Multi-User Solutions, a subsidiary of Computone, provides service and software for both hardware and software. Software support includes: Microsoft, SCO Open Server/Desktop, SCO Xenix(TM) System V, SCO UNIXWARE(TM), Merge(TM), WABI(TM), MPX/SMP(TM), Virtual Disk Manager and LAN Manager for SCO(TM), ArcServ for SCO(TM), SCO Doctor(TM), Advanced File and Print Server(TM), FastStart Products(TM), X Vision Products(TM), Caldera, Linux and TurboLinux. It supports leading hardware vendors including: 3COM(R), Compaq(R), Computone, DEC(R) (Compaq), Dell(R), Fujitsu(R), Gateway(R), Hewlett-Packard(R), IBM, Intel, Lexmark(R), Magnavox(R), NEC(R), Okidata(R), Panasonic(R), Samsung(R), Seagate(R), Sony(R), Texas Instruments(R) (HP), Toshiba(R), and U.S. Robotics(R) (3COM).