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Netopia Acquires Web Site Developer

Web site provider and Internet communications company Netopia Inc. Friday acquired Serus LLC, makers of Java-based Web development tools, in a cash and stock deal.

Netopia paid Serus $3 million in cash and gave the firm 409,556 shares of its common stock. Netopia also may pay up to $1 million more for Serus if certain, unspecified conditions are met. Netopia expects to take a one-time charge in the first quarter of fiscal 1999 to pay for the acquisition.

Netopia said a new software development proram Serus is developing should expand its licensing opportunities to ISPs, Web hosting firms and Internet communities. Netopia clients will be able to use new Java Web editing technology that will provide Web developers with Java-based Web page editing and new, drag and drop tools for customizing and maintaining Web sites.

The company said the technology will allow even Internet novices to quickly establish a Web site within minutes using built-in templates.

Netopia also plans to incorporate Serus' software technology into its Virtual Office software platform, which enhances developers' ability to customize their Web sites, e-commerce stores and interactive communities.

"Today's announcement underscores Netopia's continued commitment to deliver Web-based technologies to independent professionals and small, growing businesses to establish an effective presence on the Internet. This acquisition will help us extend our market research while complementing our core competencies," said Alan Letkof, Netopia's president and chief executive officer.