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COMPUTONE TO ACQUIRE LINUX/UNIX SERVICE COMPANY.

Computone Corporation (OTC BB: CMPT), Atlanta, a pioneer in IT connectivity and remote access communications, has taken a major step in broadening its reach, size and offerings by announcing its intention to acquire Multi-User Solutions, Ltd., a third party provider of service and support specializing in SCO(R) UNIX(R), Linux(R), Windows(R) NT and other Open Systems.

Perry Pickerign, president and CEO of Computone, said a letter of intent has been signed for the purchase of Multi-User Solutions, with the acquisition to be completed within 60 days, subject to normal due diligence. Financial details were not disclosed.

Both companies are in the Atlanta area -- Computone in Alpharetta and Multi-User in Norcross -- and both have emerged as leaders serving the needs of the rapidly-growing marketplace of small and medium-size companies using SCO UNIX, Linux, Windows NT and other Open Systems solutions.

"A Marketplace Hungry for a Full-Service Provider"

"This marketplace has been hungry for a nationwide full-service provider who can support users," Pickerign said. "The new combined Computone and Multi-User more than meets those requirements, and should be a catalyst for the industry it serves."

Founded in 1991 and privately-held, Multi-User Solutions (www.multiuser.com) provides operating system support, systems integration, and logistics management to customers of turnkey software vendors in North America. It supports and provides services to major software vendors and customers in more than 10,000 locations, focusing on Linux, SCO UNIX, Microsoft(R) Windows NT and Novell(R). The company has a long relationship with Santa Cruz Operations (SCO), which has some 70 percent of the UNIX marketplace on Intel(R) platforms, and was SCO's first Authorized Support Center (ASC) in North America.

Last March, Caldera Systems, a leading distributor of Linux, named Multi-User as its first ASC, and also gave it operational responsibilities for its internal Help Desk and telemarketing sales for support contracts. Multi-User has third-party agreements with IBM(R), NCR(R) and other major organizations to provide same-day and next-day service solutions, including overnight replacement and on-site service.

"A Winner in Service and on the Bottom Line"

Pickerign called Multi-User Solutions "a winner in service and on the bottom line," saying "its revenue stream is significant -- more than 1500% greater than competitors such as Linuxcare_ -- and with the distinction of profitability. Multi-User also has support contracts with SCO, Caldera and TurboLinux(TM), and has become a star for its unique ability to successfully service and support Linux, NT and UNIX users.

"This is a winning combination," he added. "Both companies are striving for excellence, and now will benefit from the other by gaining access to each other's customers and by having a more comprehensive solution. We were both viable on our own," he concluded, "and together will be substantial force in the marketplace."

"Perfect Fit for Computone"

"Multi-User Solutions and Computone are a perfect fit -- a great marriage," said Pickerign. "The companies have the same culture, the same strong work and service ethic, share a market focus and, more and more often, the same customers and strategic partnerships. This acquisition will give Computone a distinct advantage in our ability to offer customers, resellers, and resellers' customers unparalleled service and support -- 24 hours a day, seven days a week -- including same day on-site service anywhere in the U.S. for users that need it most, the medium-size businesses and branch offices using NT, SCO and Linux."

Pickerign noted that the new combined company "will have a service reach that greatly exceeds its competitors. Almost anyone in the industry would have said that the most critical missing ingredient for Linux had been reliable, round-the-clock, nationwide service and support. Now, Computone, with Multi-User, more than meets that need, opening a porthole for businesses and business chains to the world of premiere products, service and support."

The 'Logical Step' for Multi-User Solutions

Darrin Sherrill, president and co-founder of Multi-User Solutions, said the acquisition of his company by Computone was a "logical step. Being part of a larger whole, and being publicly traded, have been goals of Multi-User Solutions for the decade of our existence. As Multi-User Solutions has grown in size and in reach, we have sought a partnering relationship that would achieve these aims. Now, being part of another Atlanta company with whom we share customers, marketplaces and, most important, a synergy of mission, makes this a very exciting time in our history."

A pioneer and leader in the worldwide IT industry since 1984, Computone Corporation (OTC BB: CMPT, www.computone.com) designs, manufactures and markets a comprehensive line of remote access communications servers for Internet, LAN/WAN and Windows NT/SCO UNIX/Linux and other Open Systems. Computone is also a leading producer of high-speed multiport I/O boards, serving vertical markets including healthcare, retail/point-of-sale, banking and financial, telecommunications, Internet service providers (ISPs), transportation, hospitality and education. Based in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, Computone sells through a worldwide network of authorized and certified distributors. For the nine months ended December 31, 1999, Computone reported an increase of 29 percent in net sales over the same period a year ago.

Multi-User Solutions Inc. currently supports software including SCO Open Server/Desktop, SCO Xenix(TM) System V, SCO UNIXWARE(TM), Merge(TM), WABI(TM), MPX/SMP(TM), Virtual Disk Manager and LAN Manager for SCO(TM), ArcServ for SCO(TM), SCO Doctor(TM), Advanced File and Print Server(TM), FastStart Products(TM), X Vision Products(TM), Microsoft and Caldera. It supports leading hardware vendors including: 3COM(R), Compaq(R), Computone, DEC(R) (Compaq), Dell(R), Fujitsu(R), Gateway(R), Hayes(R), Hewlett-Packard(R), IBM, Intel, Lexmark(R), Magnavox(R), NEC(R), Okidata(R), Panasonic(R), Samsung(R), Seagate(R), Sony(R), Texas Instruments(R) (HP), Toshiba(R), and U.S. Robotics(R) (3COM).

For more information, call 770-625-0000 - X1640.
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Title Annotation:Company Business and Marketing
Comment:COMPUTONE TO ACQUIRE LINUX/UNIX SERVICE COMPANY.(Company Business and Marketing)
Publication:UNIX Update
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2000
Words:965
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