Aether completes Riverbed purchase

All-stock transaction valued at $1.4 billion

Technology

March 07, 2000|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Aether Systems Inc., an Owings Mills wireless data company, said yesterday that it has completed its acquisition of Riverbed Technologies Inc. The final price of the all-stock deal, based on yesterday's closing price, was $1.4 billion.

Aether sells software that allows mobile workers, stock-watchers and other users of handheld computers to receive instant data. Riverbed gives Aether technology that allows digital devices to communicate.

Such mobile communications technology is all the rage on Wall Street these days, and Aether's torrid stock has gathered additional heat since the planned purchase of Riverbed was agreed to Feb. 9.

Aether's stock shot up 23 percent after the company unveiled its plan to buy Riverbed and released an earnings report showing continued red ink but ever-growing sales. Since then, the stock has climbed another 21 percent, gaining $6 yesterday to close at $266.

Riverbed, which has slightly more than 100 employees, will become known as Aether Software. The main operations will stay at Riverbed's former headquarters in Vienna, Va.

Some Aether officials were in Europe yesterday, preparing for a secondary stock offering expected to take place this month. The company plans to use the money from the offering for further rounds of acquisitions and overseas expansion.

"We are very pleased that the Riverbed transaction has closed," said Brian Keane, Aether's senior vice president for business affairs. "We look forward to working with Riverbed management."

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