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Nice Systems tops estimates, buys assets

NICE Systems (Nasdaq: NICE) reported Wednesday third quarter earnings of 58 cents a share, a penny above First Call's consensus estimate. It also said it will buy parts of Stevens Communications Inc. for $10.5 million in cash and up to 426,852 ADRs.

Shares in the Israeli-based company that makes multimedia digital recording technology closed down 5.88 to 46.75 Tuesday.

Revenues increased 46 percent to $46.6 million compared with $32.0 million for the third quarter of 1999. Earnings of 58 cents a share compared with 46 cents a share in the third quarter of 1999.

Net income rose 42 percent to $8.1 million from $5.7 million for the same quarter last year. Gross margin was 58.6 percent, as compared with 57.9 percent for the same quarter of 1999. Operating income rose 56 percent to $6.8 million from $4.3 million for 1999's third quarter.

The company said it is seeing continued progress in our CEM (Customer Experience Management) business and sales to international markets, in particular Europe and Japan.

In a separate release, NICE Systems said it will buy certain assets and liabilities of Stevens Communications (SCI) to expand the customer and support services of its CEM division.

Additional support and consulting staff are needed to keep with growing demand, the company said. As part of the acquired assets, NICE will integrate SCI employees, specializing in NICE's products, into the company's CEM division in North America. In addition, SCI sales and service contracts with NICE customers will be assigned to NICE.

NICE will acquire these assets of Stevens Communications for about $10.5 million in cash and up to 426,852 NICE American Depositary Shares (ADSs), representing ordinary shares of NICE, of which 225,839 are contingent on achieving the agreed upon objectives. The deal is expected to be closed by next month.