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Novell takes stake in NetObjects

The deal will help the networking firm become more Net-oriented as the maker of site construction products expands into the business space.

Novell said today that it has acquired a minority stake in NetObjects, which has agreed to bundle its Fusion Web development software with Novell Netware for small business 4.2.

The terms of the deal, forged by Novell's Internet Equity Fund venture, were not disclosed.

The arrangement calls for Novell executive Christopher Stone to sit on the NetObjects board of directors as an observer.

"This is a significant step forward as Novell is evolving into [the Internet] space and becoming more of an Internet company," said Blake Modersitzki, Novell's director of strategic investments.

NetObjects, which makes Internet site construction products, is attempting through today's deal to expand beyond its original base of Web development shops and into the small- and medium-sized business space.

"Novell is very strategically positioned to reach small- and medium-sized businesses, and together we're poised to provide an end-to-end solution to help these businesses become e-businesses," said NetObjects chief executive Samir Arora.

Both companies were cagey about future licensing possibilities, but Modersitzki hinted of "additional programs and opportunities going forward."

IBM remains the largest investor in NetObjects.

Novell stock closed more than 3 percent higher today at 13.0625. The shares have traded as high as 13.625 and as low as 6.8125 during the past 52 weeks.