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Company and tech news from the region.

PeopleSoft plans heavy layoffs

Despite public assurances to the contrary, PeopleSoft Inc. CEO Craig Conway unveiled plans to cut up to 1,000 jobs at the Pleasanton-based software maker.

Conway spelled out in detail the company’s plans to integrate its operations with those of J.D. Edwards & Co., the Denver software maker PeopleSoft bought last month for $1.8 billion in cash and stock. PeopleSoft is initiating the cuts in an effort to deliver on its promise of slashing between $150 million and $200 million in costs. The cost reductions are key both in making the merger itself pay off and in fending off an unsolicited takeover offer from Oracle Corp., which is trying to acquire PeopleSoft for $7.5 billion in cash.

Conway has made several public statements downplaying the notion that the company will achieve its goal through massive layoffs. But the company now says it will drop between 750 and 1,000 jobs in 2004.

HP buys Talking Blocks

Hewlett-Packard Co. said it would buy San Francisco-based Web services software firm Talking Blocks for an undisclosed sum. The company said the Talking Blocks acquisition was part of a series of small buys to boost HP’s software and service unit.

Soyo moves from Bay Area

Fremont electronics manufacturer Soyo Group Inc. is moving to Southern California in what the company described as an effort to maintain closer ties to key vendors. The company said it is moving its U.S. headquarters, which employed 45 workers, from Fremont to a new 40,000 square-foot facility located in Ontario The company said the move will increase its operational space by 15 percent. Soyo is a manufacturer of motherboards, computer peripherals, barebones systems and wireless networking products.

Synnex files for $92 million IPO

Hoping to cash in on the resurgent market for new technology stocks, Synnex Information Technologies Inc. of Fremont filed papers for an initial public offering that could fetch as much as $92 million. The provider of IT outsourcing services is following the footsteps of two other East Bay tech firms: FormFactor Inc. of Livermore and InterVideo Inc. of Fremont. Other high tech firms have made successful offerings in a market that has remained relatively dry since the dot-com bust in 2000.

NightFire bought by Washington D.C. firm

Oakland-based NightFire Software Inc. was acquired by NeuStar Inc., a Washington D.C. firm that provides communications clearinghouse services, for an undisclosed sum. NeuStar said it has absorbed NightFire’s sales and customer support staff and has designated NightFire’s Oakland facilities as its new operations support systems development center. As part of the deal, NightFire founder Venkates “Swami” Swaminathan was named senior vice president and chief strategist for NeuStar’s Service Management Solutions unit. NightFire, which provides system management software to telecommunications providers, has received $51.8 million in venture capital since its inception.

Pleasanton firm bought by management

The assets of Pleasanton software maker Wright Williams & Kelly have been purchased by a team led by the company’s senior management and original co-founders for an undisclosed sum. The buyers said they have received commitments from all of WWK’s current staff members to join the new organization. They also said they have received written confirmation from long-term clients and key suppliers supporting the acquisition. The private company, founded in 1991, provides operational cost management software primarily to semiconductor firms and other electronics manufacturers.

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