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Berkeley bought by Fore in swap of stock

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Fore Systems bought Berkeley Networks, a maker of NT based routing switches, in a stock swap valued at as much as estimated $250 million. The acquisition will bring large scale gigabit Ethernet backbone switches to Fore’s ATM based product line. It also broadens the scope of the company, known for its specialisation, giving access to businesses which tend to use Ethernet, rather than ATM because of the lower cost. The company plans to extend Berkeley’s application aware solutions across both ATM and Ethernet applications. According to Fore, the technology will open the possibility of integrating many new capabilities for directory enabled networking, policy based network management and firewall switching. “We are broadening our capabilities in the large enterprise market,” said Thomas Gill, president of Fore. “Our customer base expects us to come out with higher performing switches, both on the Ethernet and the ATM side.” Berkeley’s owners will get $220 million of Fore stock, with the possibility of $30 million extra in cash if the company meets revenue and development targets. The acquisition is expected to be approved next month, and Berkeley will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Fore. Fore expects to break even on the deal in its fourth quarter. ®

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