Radiant soars on Microsoft deal

Radiant Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: RADS) jumped 99 percent Thursday after the maker of electronic commerce systems announced it would work with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) to create Web marketplaces for retailers.

Shares of Radiant were up 54 3/4 to 110 in early trading Thursday. Radiant also soared in after-hours trading. The stock has spiked since the company's fourth-quarter report elicited analysts' praise. Shares of Microsoft were trading at 91 1/4 compared to its close of 90 13/16.

Microsoft will make an undisclosed equity investment in Radiant as part of the deal. Microsoft also has agreed to support Radiant through joint marketing program, providing funding for product development and other services.

Their efforts will focus on small- and medium-sized retailers and help them purchase supplies of goods and services that they use in their businesses.

Microsoft and Radiant join several others vying for a piece of the online procurement pie; on Monday Sears, Roebuck and Co. (NYSE: S) and Carrefour Supermarche said they would launch a global business-to-business online exchange for the retail industry along with software provide Oracle Corp. (Nasdaq: ORCL).

Radiant Systems will use Microsoft software and technologies to develop products through its Vertical Solution Portals unit, (VSP). Microsoft and Radiant Systems said their an open structure allows for other strategic and equity participants.