NEC America buys Active Voice

NEC America Inc. beefed up its communications business Thursday, agreeing to buy the messaging software products of privately held Active Voice Inc.

NEC America -- an affiliate of Tokyo's NEC Corp.-- makes various products for switching, fiber-optic transmission, fax and other communications systems, according to a statement. The company plans to make Active Voice an independent subsidiary that will sell its Repartee, PhoneSoft, Replay and Lingo products, all of which are designed to help companies link telephone services with other types of communication, such as fax and text and data messaging.

The PhoneSoft product, for example, is a software tool for putting all of a user's voice messages, faxes, and e-mail messages into a Lotus Notes inbox. All the messages can be managed with a telephone or with a PC connected to the Internet, according to information on Active Voice's Web site.

The companies did not release financial details for the acquisition or provide a closing date for the deal. Representatives did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

NEC will take control of Active Voice's operations at its Seattle headquarters as well as at subsidiary locations in Australia and The Netherlands. The new company will be jointly owned by NEC America and NEC Infrontia Inc. and be renamed Active Voice LLC.

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