Inprise may split as revenues spill; new CEO named

Inprise may split as revenues spill; new CEO named

Inprise and its division have hired a San Francisco investment banking firm to help steady the ship's rudder and perhaps split the company in the wake of drastically lower quarterly financial results and the naming of a new chief executive after the recent firing of Del Yocam.

Inprise, the former Borland, posted results some 20 cents per share lower than analysts had expected on Tuesday after the markets closed. Analysts polled by First Call had expected middleware, tool and application-server vendor Inprise, which is highly regarded for its technology holdings, to break even for the most recent quarter.

Inprise reported a first-quarter loss of $US0.55 per share, which included a one-time charge of $US0.34 per share related to restructuring costs at its InterBase subsidiary. Inprise now expects to post a loss for its current fiscal year.

As the red ink spilled at Inprise's campus in Scotts Valley, California, the company's board of directors hired investment banker Hambrecht & Quist to review the company's situation and offer solutions, which may include breaking the company up and placing parts or all of it up for sale, said analysts.

"Inprise has excellent technology, but there have been rumours about its long-term status," said Anne Thomas, an analyst at Patricia Seybold Group in Boston.

On Tuesday, Inprise also named Dale Fuller as interim president, CEO and a director. Fuller, 40, recently served as CEO of WhoWhere? until it was acquired by Lycos in 1998. Fuller is also a former Apple Computer executive, having served there as vice president and general manager of the Powerbook Business Unit.

Fuller will succeed Yocam as Inprise's chief executive after he unexpectedly resigned on March 31. Inprise's board said in a statement Tuesday that it had fired Yocam over "philosophical differences regarding the company's growth strategy".

Inprise said it is examining whether to split into two companies but declined to comment on speculation about any sales of the company or its parts. Earlier this year the company divided itself internally into an Inprise division to make and sell integrated enterprise solutions, and to offer software-development tools and a Web portal site for developers.

"Inprise remains a fundamentally sound company," said William F. Miller, an outside director who has been named chairman of the board, in a statement.

"Inprise/Borland has a strong technology platform, great products, a talented work force, a strong and loyal customer base, and a sound balance sheet," said new CEO Fuller in a statement. "I have already begun working with the board and management to evaluate all aspects of the business and to develop an operating plan that takes full advantage of the company's great potential. Going forward, we are determined to restore market share and to protect and build the company's leading technological service and support capabilities," he said.

Hambrecht & Quist has been charged with providing its review of Inprise by July.

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