- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 16, 2001

RealNetworks Inc., a Seattle company that makes software to send and receive audio and video files, yesterday announced it has purchased Aegisoft Corp., a Rockville software developer.

RealNetworks will pay Aegisoft about 1.22 million shares of stock worth an estimated $12.2 million for the privately held Maryland company, founded three years ago by Ji Shen, president of the company, and Kevin Jai, vice president of technology.

Neither was available yesterday to comment on the transaction.

Aegisoft's management and technical staff will transfer to Seattle to join RealNetworks, founded by fast-talking Rob Glaser, a former Microsoft Corp. executive.

RealNetworks, a leading U.S. developer of software for playing and distributing audio and video on the Internet, reported revenue of $131.2 million in 1999.

Its signature product is RealPlayer, the software Internet users can download to their desktop computers to view streaming media, or audio and visual files. RealPlayer, released in 1995, has been installed on about 170 million computers.

Aegisoft received $600,000 in start-up venture capital in September 1998 and another $1.5 million in funds in May 2000.

Aegisoft began renting software, including games, through brick-and-mortar storefronts last January. The company introduced an on-line store in May so it could sell and rent software over the Internet.

Under terms of the agreement, Aegisoft shareholders will have the right to purchase as many as 300,000 RealNetworks shares six months after the transaction is complete. That represents fewer than 1 percent of shares outstanding.

Shares of RealNetworks, which sold for $58 in July, closed Friday at $10 on the Nasdaq Composite Index. Financial markets were closed yesterday for the Martin Luther King birthday observance.


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