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Network Appliance acquires WebManage for $75 million

Network Appliance announced after the bell Tuesday that it will acquire privately held WebManage Technologies, a developer of content distribution software, for $75 million in stock and cash.

Company officials said the deal will close sometime in this quarter.

WebManage, based in Chelmsford, Mass., develops software that intelligently distributes content between various points on the Internet and enables organizations to plan, manage, and deliver predictable Internet/intranet services.

Ahead of the news, Network Appliance (Nasdaq: NTAP) shares closed off 2 9/16 to 112 15/16.

"The acquisition of WebManage ushers in a new era for Network Appliance," said CEO Dan Warmenhoven in a prepared release. "We are leveraging our leadership in network attached storage and content delivery to redefine enterprise data infrastructure development."

In its latest quarter, Network Appliance topped analysts' estimates, earning $32.3 million, or 9 cents a share, on sales of $231.9 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expects it to earn 9 cents a share in its second quarter and 40 cents a share in the fiscal year.

Its shares hustled up to a 52-week high of 124 in August after falling to a low of 15 5/8 in October.

All 21 analysts following the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.