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END IN SIGHT FOR SITE TECH AS CORE ASSETS ARE SOLD.

Site Technologies Inc has given up on its attempt to find a niche in the crowded web development tools market and has sold its core software assets to StarBase Corp. The deal will see products, including SiteMaster, SiteSweeper, QuickSite and SiteMarks, handed over to StarBase, which has been a partner of the Scotts Valley, California-based company since February, writing APIs to link Site's software with its own development and management tools. StarBase will pay Site $586,000 in newly-issued shares for the assets. The deal is subject to fluctuations in StarBase's share price but it will be between $500,000 and $1.5m. Site reckons the deal, subject to shareholder approval, will close in the second quarter of next year. Site plans to continue its pursuit of partnerships with third parties, "including the possible sale of the company," but having sold off essentially all of its assets, the only thing left to sell will be the furniture and a shell company. We would like to have been proven wrong, but nobody at the beleaguered company would return phone calls yesterday. Site has had a patchy history, emerging from DeltaPoint Technologies in March 1996 with QuickSite, but just a year later it had been delisted from Nasdaq and had seen its would-be partner, IBM - w hich had canceled a project with the company just three months earlier - take control of NetObjects Inc for its Fusion web site maintenance tool, a major competitor of Site's. Many investors dumped the stock at that time and Jeff Ait was brought in from Santa Cruz Operation Inc to try and save the day (01/28/98). Ait sold off the rest of the DeltaPoint graphics tools to SPSS, changed the name to Site Technologies and bought some much-needed database technology from Inlet Inc - the SiteSweeper site debugging tool. Last time we spoke to Ait back in late January, the stock was languishing very near a then 52-week low of $0.50. Soon after, it began to sink further, hit 2.5 cents per share in September and yesterday closed down one cent at ten cents per share on trading volume of just 41,700. In May the company restructured again, laying off a lot of staff in the finance, research and operations departments and switched distribution of QuickSite from retail channels to the web only. In January Ait reckoned Site had a good chance of beating off the challenge of NetObjects' Fusion, as it requires developers to write everything in its language, but they appear to be willing to do that. Similarly, SoftQuad HotMetal Pro was just a development tool, according to Ait and therefore not much of a threat to Site. Ironically, SoftQuad offloaded HotMetal to some of its staff for the discount price of $950,000 just last month after it too was delisted from Nasdaq (11/11/98).
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 1998
Words:476
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