Briefs

FRAMINGHAM (07/07/2000) - EDS Scores a Hit With Defense ContractElectronic Data Systems Corp. in Plano, Texas, has landed a $2.1 billion contract with British defense contractor Rolls-Royce PLC to provide electronic-business, consulting and supply-chain management services. EDS said the agreement, which runs through 2012, extends a relationship signed in 1996 with Rolls-Royce's aerospace business.

AOL Invests in Speech Software Company

America Online Inc. has taken a stake in SpeechWorks International Inc., a maker of voice-recognition software in Boston, to capitalize on the hot market for voice access to online services via telephone. Dulles, Virginia-based AOL agreed to purchase $5 million in SpeechWorks common stock, according to documents filed with U.S. securities regulators late last week by SpeechWorks.

AOL may increase its initial investment - about 1% of SpeechWorks' stock - by exercising stock warrants that could give it up to 4% of the company.

SpeechWorks filed to raise up to $71 million in an initial public offering.

Comverse to Buy Exalink for $480M

Wireless communications equipment maker Comverse Technology Inc. agreed to acquire closely held Exalink Ltd. in Herzeliya, Israel, for about $480 million in stock. Woodbury, New York-based Comverse said the purchase gives it access to Exalink's mobile Internet platform, including its Wireless Application Protocol gateway product, and its database for subscriber and platform management.

NEC Plans for Mergers

NEC Corp., Japan's largest semiconductor maker and the world's second-largest, said it will establish a $5.64 billion investment fund to spend mainly on U.S. mergers and acquisitions. The company also plans to list its stock on the New York Stock Exchange within the next three years.

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