Aprisma is set free

Equipment maker Enterasys Networks Inc. last week announced that it has sold network management software company Aprisma Management Technologies Inc. to a buyout firm in a move intended to help Enterasys better focus and Aprisma position itself as hardware-agnostic.

Enterasys had planned to spin off Aprisma months ago, but that effort was delayed by a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) investigation into Enterasys accounting practices. Enterasys has been reeling since February, when it announced it was being investigated.

The company has laid off about one-third of its staff, and several top executives have resigned.

The sale of Aprisma to Gores Technology Group Inc. of Los Angeles "strengthens our focus on Enterasys' core business, the network needs of enterprise customers," CEO Bill O'Brien said in a statement.

As for Aprisma, the company says it will continue with its focus on service-level management. The SEC investigation will follow Aprisma into its independence. Zeus Kerravala, a vice president at The Yankee Group, says Aprisma will benefit from the sale.

"In some ways, I think the company has missed its opportunity because it remained under Enterasys for too long, and [Enterasys'] recent image problem is affecting all the former Cabletron (Systems Inc.) companies," Kerravala says. "And the bright spot for Aprisma is that it's moving out of the shadow of Enterasys."

Aprisma CEO Mike Skubisz said in a statement that separating from Enterasys should better enable Aprisma to strike deals with other companies. Gores will provide Aprisma with the financial stability it needs to compete effectively, he said.

Gores will acquire all Aprisma's assets, customers, products and employees in the transaction, though Aprisma's headquarters will remain in Portsmouth, N.H.

Aprisma, like Enterasys, has been struggling. The company, known for its Spectrum management products, laid off 15 percent of its staff earlier this year.

Kim Kloskey, lead WAN data network engineer at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee and a Spectrum software user, says she is optimistic about the purchase.

"It is a positive move and allows for hopefully additional development of the Spectrum software in strategic areas that we at Aurora are concerned about," Kloskey says. She says Aprisma informed customers in advance that it was looking for private investors to help it gain independence from Enterasys.

Aprisma and Enterasys initially were spun off from Cabletron when the company announced a major restructuring in February 2000, under which it divided into four parts. Global Network Technology Services and Riverstone Networks Inc. were the other two spinoffs.

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