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Reshuffling at Quarterdeck

Quarterdeck restructures in an effort to return to profits as it prepares to post a net loss for its fiscal year ended September 30.

Quarterdeck (QDEK) said today that the company is undergoing a major restructuring in an effort to return to profitability.

The strategy is being launched as the company prepares to post a substantial net loss for its fiscal year ended September 30.

The year-end results will include a one-time charge as the company reduces its work force by about 40 percent in a drastic consolidation of its operations from ten firms it recently acquired. The company will have a work force of around 650 to 700 employees once the cuts are completed, according to Frank Greico, chief financial officer.

Under the changes, a new direct marketing unit will be added that will be overseen by the acting copresident, Anatoly Tikhman. That unit is designed to build on the direct mail and marketing operations that two of its acquired firms previously ran.

Meanwhile, the utilities and communications and collaboration units will now be responsible for their own profit and loss statements, rather than being added into the company's overall results. This will help Quarterdeck evaluate the expense and profits of each units' products more clearly, Greico said.

Joe Fusco has joined Quarterdeck to head the utilities unit, replacing Tikhman. Suzanne Dickson has been appointed head of the communications and collaboration unit, replacing Koen Bouwers who resigned in mid-September.

Quarterdeck will also move to improve its balance sheet with the completion of a $20 million stock offering. Proceeds will be used for restructuring, working capital, and general corporate purposes.

Analysts, however, question whether these moves will be enough. "The management team inherited a business in disarray and they're trying to make sense of it. It will take a quarter or two to see if their new strategy will be successful," said Taurn Chandra, analyst with Laidlaw Equities.

He also noted that without the $20 million infusion of capital, the company would have found it difficult to survive.

The company said it plans to incorporate new technologies acquired this year to introduce new products and diversify its portfolio of PC utilities and Internet software. Quarterdeck said its new products will integrate with client and server technologies from Netscape Communications and Microsoft, including support for ActiveX software specifications.

In addition, Quarterdeck is developing products that will incorporate intelligent agents.