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BroadVision inks Wal-Mart pact

    BroadVision shares added 13 percent Monday on news that retailing giant Wal-Mart will use its software.

    Shares in the company were up 70 cents to $6.21. BroadVision makes a software suite to help companies construct Web sites that offer e-commerce transactions and tailored services using customer profiles.

    BroadVision (Nasdaq: BVSN) said Wal-Mart Stores signed a global license to standardize all its operations on BroadVision's e-business software. Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) already uses the company's products and will continue to do so in its existing online retail projects. Wal-Mart will also use BroadVision's products for new developments, including an associate portal expected to go live in the first half of 2001.

    The companies did not disclose details of the deal, and analysts had yet to gauge the financial impact. But the deal's significance was apparent.

    "This is an important step for them to regain momentum in investors' minds," said Jefferies & Company analyst Richard Williams. "Wal-Mart is a great place to start."

    "It's a positive indication," said Legg Mason analyst Paul Kreig. However, he doesn't see the deal doing much for the stock in the long term. Kreig compared this deal with the one BroadVision signed with Agilent (NYSE: A) recently, and said it's one more success in a string of deals the company has made to manage employee intranets.

    The news is a much-needed boost to BroadVision's stock, which has been troubled since announcing it would post a loss in its first quarter, miss analysts' sales estimates by at least $45 million and lay off 15 percent of its work force. The stock was cut in half by the news, hitting a low of $2.50.

    At the time, analysts had bemoaned the Redwood City, Calif.-based company's gloomy outlook, and some downgraded the stock. They cited the unwillingness of customers to commit to large-scale projects due to the economic environment.

    Separately, Broadvision announced Monday that it has shipped BroadVision Retail Commerce 6.0, the new version of its e-commerce software.