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Digital River Dives Into Shareware, Buys Register Now! Owner

Web-based commerce service provider Digital River Friday bought Universal Commerce, Inc., owner of shareware-focused e-commerce service provider Register Now!, to bring its tally of shareware publishers up 1,000 to a total of 6,000.

"This partnership with Universal Commerce will strengthen both our position within the shareware market and our offering to shareware authors," said Joel Ronning, CEO of Digital River. "We are now working with well over 3,000 shareware publishers in our client base, bringing our total number of clients to more than 6,000."

The shareware market is one of the most rapidly growing segments of the digital commerce industry, according to Ronning, who calls its user base "one of the most forward-looking Internet audiences."

Digital River acquired Universal Commerce for $2 million in a cash and stock deal. Universal Commerce has the option for additional stock based on operating results over the next 12 months. Universal Commerce's 1998 revenues were also around $2 million.