Business Briefs

SAN MATEO (03/31/2000) - AT&T Corp. last week signaled that it will prolong its agreement with cable mate Excite@Home INc., but also took the opportunity to reiterate its open-access pledge. AT&T, Comcast, and Cox Communications entered new distribution agreements with Excite, which will last until 2008. Under the agreement, Excite will deliver Internet services for the cable trio and retain a spot on AT&T's home page. Comcast and Cox have forged similar arrangements with Excite. However, Excite also must work alongside AT&T to give connectivity service to any third-party ISPs interested in the cable platform. AT&T has vowed to let other ISPs onto its broadband platform but will not do so until 2002 when its current deal with Excite expires.

Cisco Systems Inc. this week said it will purchase SightPath Inc., a maker of Internet appliances, in an all-stock deal valued at about $800 million.

Cisco's interest in privately held SightPath lies in SightPath's content-delivery appliances, which will help Cisco's customers deliver live streaming media, high-reliability hosting, and other capabilities, according to Cisco. SightPath's products are designed to continually collect data on Web traffic, congestion, and server load to determine the best path to route users' requests, officials said. SightPath's appliances also distribute content closer to the edge of the network, speeding up delivery time.

Under the terms of the agreement, Cisco common stock with an aggregate value of $800 million will be exchanged for all outstanding shares and options of SightPath. The deal has been approved by both companies' boards of directors and is expected to be finalized in the fourth quarter.

SightPath was founded in 1998, and its 76 employees, including CEO Jim Ricotta, will join Cisco's Content Services Business unit, Cisco officials said.

Cabletron Systems last week reported fourth-quarter net income of $28.1 million, or 15 cents per diluted share (which excludes extraordinary charges), squeezing past First Call/Thomson Financial analyst estimates of 14 cents per share.

Including all income and other charges, the company's actual net income for the quarter that ended Feb. 29 was $431.2 million, or $2.23 per diluted share, compared to actual net income of $42.6 million, or 22 cents per diluted share, in the same period last year when Cabletron also posted an actual net loss of $12.7 million.

Fourth-quarter revenue hit $381.8 million, up from $345 million in the same quarter a year ago.

The company ended fiscal year 2000 with net income of $69.9 million, or 37 cents per diluted share, up from a $9.4 million loss last year.

Cabletron, during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2000, said it would become a holding company that will launch four separate companies focused on particular areas of Internet infrastructure. Next week in New York the company will hold an event introducing the strategy and management of its new Enterasys unit, which will focus on serving Fortune 2000 enterprise customers.

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