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WebEx acquires maker of business tools

Top Web conferencing firm merges with Intranets.com, a maker of online business tools for document sharing, group scheduling and more.

WebEx Communications will acquire Intranets.com, a maker of on-demand business software, for $45 million in cash, the companies announced on Monday.

Intranets.com, a privately held company based in Burlington, Mass., has 300,000 paying subscribers to its online business software. The programs, designed for small businesses, include tools for document sharing, group scheduling, task management, database applications, discussion forums and contact directories, the companies said.

WebEx, which sells a popular Web conferencing service, raised its financial guidance for the year. Assuming it will complete the acquisition, WebEx estimates that revenue for 2005 will fall between $303 million and $315 million, $3 million to $5 million higher than previously expected. The company also revised earnings per share for the third quarter to between 25 cents and 28 cents. For the year, it expects earnings per share of between $1.08 and $1.16.

Under the agreement, Intranets.com will become a wholly owned subsidiary of WebEx. The boards of each company have already approved the deal and expect to complete it by October.

The acquisition puts WebEx at the center of two booming markets--"on-demand" business software and online communication tools, the company said.

Intranets.com, which entered the Web conference business last year, said it's been growing non-stop for more than four years. Last year, Inc. magazine included the company in its list of the 500 fastest growing companies.