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Company and tech news from the region.

Digital River buys Element 5

Minneapolis-based e-commerce outsourcing company Digital River Inc. signed a definitive agreement to acquire privately-held Element 5 AG. Digital River paid $120 million in cash. Digital River also may pay up to an additional $2.5 million in cash based on Element 5’s operating performance over the first 24 months subsequent to the acquisition. Founded in 1996, Element 5 is a provider of outsourced e-commerce solutions for software publishers in over 150 countries.

Open Systems releases mobile product

Minneapolis-based Open Systems, Inc. released Traverse Hand Held Solutions, a new suite of applicationsdesigned for mobile professionals. Traverse allows users to look up client information, add new customers and comments, view customer credit limits and scan inventory items onto customer orders using a PDA device. Traverse uses Microsoft’s .Net framework, is Pocket PC 2003-compliant and integrates with many bar code scanning devices.

Net Perceptions sold

Edina-based NetPerceptions signed an agreement with an investment affiliate of Kanders & Co. Inc. to take over the company and move its remaining assets to Greenwich, Conn., its new owner’s home. Kanders bought Net Perceptions for about $2.5 million. As part of the final transaction, the Net Perceptions board was reorganized and member Ann Winblad resigned. Thomas Donnelly resigned as the company’s president. Net Perceptions used to make contact software for Internet retailers.

Spectre Gaming appoints new CEO

Spectre Gaming Inc., a Minneapolis-based provider of electronic gaming equipment, appointed Russell Mix its CEO. Ronald Eibensteiner president of the company, will remain Spectre’s chairman. Mix was the CEO of Prolific Publishing Inc., a software games company based in Burbank, Calif.

HickoryTech income and revenue down

HickoryTech Corp. reported lower net income and revenue in the first quarter of 2004 than in the same period last year. The Mankato-based provider of wired telephone service and DSL and dial-up Internet access services said its telecom operations represent 86 percent of its activities. Revenue for this segment was up 4.6 percent compared to last year, to $19.4 million. Hickory has more than 400 employees and operates in Minnesota and Iowa.

Ontrack updates PowerControl

Minneapolis-based Ontrack Data Recovery released Ontrack PowerControls version 2.1, mailbox recovery software designed with expanded email system support and an export function that can upgrade internal controls and help companies comply with the corporate governance requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act requires companies to certify that they have internal controls in place ensuring the accuracy and veracity of financial reporting. As some publicly traded companies must become Sarbanes-Oxley complaint as soon as Nov. 15, 2004, better solutions are needed to work with the company’s old email records that have been backed up prior to the company implementing new internal controls, such as e-mail archiving systems and disaster recovery procedures. Ontrack said PowerControls 2.1 can aid compliance to those regulations by offering Veritas NetBackup users ExtractWizard support for 3.4.1, 3.4.2 and 4.5 tape formats.

Carlson opens business-travel site

Carlson Wagonlit Travel introduced a Web-based travel service for businesses. The i-Selects system helps businesses organize and manage their travel activity in one place. Companies who sign up for the service pay $5 for each online transaction and for an extra $10 can make up to two phone calls to live travel agents at the company to help with trips within the U.S. and three phone calls for each international trip. Companies can also opt to manage their travel needs by talking to live advisors, but in that case they will pay $15 per transaction. Carlson said the new service is its response to online travel booking services like Orbitz or the Web sites maintained by the different airlines. Carlson Wagonlit Travel is a unit of Plymouth-based privately owned Carlson Cos. Inc.

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