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Wal-Mart taps BroadVision for software

The retailing giant signs a global license to standardize all of its operations on the e-commerce software maker's applications.

    BroadVision said Monday that Wal-Mart Stores signed a global license to standardize all of its operations on the company's e-business software.

    BroadVision makes software to help companies construct Web sites that offer e-commerce transactions and tailored services using customer profiles. Wal-Mart 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. Shares of BroadVision ended the regular session up 88 cents, or nearly 16 percent, to $6.39 on the Nasdaq.

    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," Jefferies analyst Richard Williams said. "Wal-Mart is a great place to start."

    Other analysts agreed. "It's a positive indication," Legg Mason analyst Paul Kreig said. However, he does not see the deal doing much for the stock in the long term. Kreig compared this deal to the one BroadVision signed with Agilent Technologies recently and said it is 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 sagged since the company announced 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 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 because of the economic environment.

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