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Friday, December 3, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Browser pioneer snaps up Rendition

Seattle Times business reporter

Business software maker Opsware said yesterday it will acquire Redmond-based Rendition Networks in a $33 million deal.

Opsware, a public company based in Sunnyvale, Calif., makes software to help large businesses automate information-technology operations. Its chairman is Marc Andreessen, a founder of Netscape Communications.

Rendition Networks, which is privately held, makes similar automation technology but is focused on network devices. Its software helps manage routers, switches and firewalls.

Both companies are targeting an emerging market known as utility computing.

As more companies move services onto the Web, Opsware aims to capitalize on the need of businesses to manage large numbers of computer servers running different kinds of software. Opsware's technology allows servers to be managed from one central point.

"As the numbers of devices within organizations continues to explode, customers are demanding a single, integrated solution that automates all critical IT assets, including servers, software and network devices," said Raghav Kher, Rendition's president and CEO.

Opsware will pay Rendition $15 million in cash and about 2.68 million shares of Opsware common stock. Rendition's existing cash — up to $7 million — will be distributed to shareholders as a dividend.

In September, the 3-year-old company raised $6 million from four venture-capital companies, bringing the total raised to more than $40 million.

Rendition's customers include Target, Microsoft and the Department of Defense.

Opsware said Rendition's 43 employees will remain in Redmond, where research and development will continue under Chief Technology Officer Eric Johnson.

Opsware's Andreessen, who originally started the company as a computer-hosting service called Loudcloud, said Opsware was shopping for technology to expand its product suite and looked at four small companies before deciding to bid for Rendition.

The new company combines Microsoft alumni Kher and Johnson with Netscape Web browser pioneer Andreessen and Opsware CEO Ben Horowitz, another Netscape veteran.

Opsware shares rose 5 cents yesterday, closing at $6.73.

Kristi Heim: 206-464-2718 or kheim@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2004 The Seattle Times Company

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