Business Briefs

SAN MATEO (04/07/2000) - Electronic-business software vendor Peregrine Systems Inc. and business-to-business e-commerce software provider Harbinger Corp. last week announced a definitive agreement to merge in an all-stock deal valued at $2.1 billion. Under the terms of the agreement, Peregrine Systems will purchase all of Harbinger's outstanding stock and stock options. Harbinger shareholders will be offered 0.75 shares of Peregrine stock for each share of Harbinger common stock. The agreement is still subject to approval by their respective shareholders as well as regulatory approvals. By joining forces, Peregrine and Harbinger aim to become the industry's largest provider of e-business software and systems.

AT&T Corp., British Telecommunications, and Concert Communications, the joint venture between the two, last week announced that over the next three years they will invest $2 billion to deliver e-commerce services via a worldwide network of 44 Internet data centers.

The data centers, which will provide Internet services ranging from co-location and Web hosting to networking and application services, will be in 16 countries by the end of the three-year period, the companies said in a statement. The agreement is designed to build on the companies' existing data-center rollout plans, which include the 14 data centers currently operating in the United States and United Kingdom, as well as Spain, Italy, and Switzerland, the companies said.

This year, 11 more data centers will open in North America, Europe, and Japan, bringing the total to 25 centers. Next year, the project will spread even further, with 19 centers scheduled to open in locations ranging from Sweden to Hong Kong.

Data centers have become big business recently. Last month, IBM and Qwest Communications announced a three-year venture to build a total of 42 "CyberCenters" worldwide.

EPOCH INTERNET, which bills itself as the nation's largest Internet solutions provider, has joined with IBM to offer dot-coms in the entertainment industry an end-to-end technical infrastructure free of charge for six months.

Under the Epoch Incubator program, those dot-coms that qualify will receive, from Epoch and IBM, the necessary hardware, software, Web hosting, co-location services, and accompanying training to operate a fledgling e-business.

As part of this initiative, a handful of companies based in Southern California, including Silicon Valley Bank, Deloitte & Touche, and the Capitalist Group, will help dot-coms at various stages of their development.

Through the program, Epoch officials hope to give users more than just access to the technology. Epoch wants to help with fostering industry relationships among key legal, accounting, and technology companies.

After the six-month incubation period, dot-coms can continue to host their systems with Epoch and are eligible for alternative rate plans from Epoch, IBM, and its partners.

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