LEXISNEXIS BUYS INTERFACE: Interface Software, which makes the Interaction CRM software line for the professional services market, has been acquired by LexisNexis. Terms were not disclosed.

About 120 Interface employees will remain at LexisNexis, including Interface president and chief executive Nate Fineberg. Fineberg will report to John Lawler, senior vice president of LexisNexis' Emerging Markets Group.

In April, LexisNexis acquired Data.TXT, which markets the Time Matters and Billing Matters practice management and time and billing packages. Bob Butler, Data.TXT's president, also reports to Lawler. The two groups will operate separately.

Interface, which has historically concentrated on the legal market and the top 30 largest CPA firms, will study the development of products for smaller accounting firms, but has not committed to moving into that market, said Fineberg.

"It opens our options for how we attack the market," he said. The company is also looking at ways it can integrate LexisNexis data into the CRM system, and is also considering increased use of resellers to provide implementation services, although not to resell Interaction. Fineberg said that a small number of resellers of the Microsoft CRM package have been working with Interaction.

- Robert W. Scott

SYMANTEC ABSORBS VERITAS IN $13.5B UNION: Just three days after Oracle and PeopleSoft signed a truce in their protracted shareholder war via a $10.3 billion merger agreement, security software provider Symantec Corp. agreed to pay $13.5 billion to purchase data storage and recovery software concern Veritas Software Corp.

The deal is expected to close during the first quarter 2005.

When the deal is completed, Symantec shareholders would own roughly 60 percent of the combined company, which will operate under the Symantec brand going forward.

Symantec's chairman and chief executive, John W. Thompson, will remain in those posts, while Veritas' chief executive, Gary Bloom, will become president and vice chairman.

Symantec, maker of the high-profile Norton anti-virus software, said that the acquisition would allow it to expand its product offerings into the corporate software market, and to use a sales staff that is trained to sell to large companies.

The combined company will have aggregate revenues of $5 billion.

MPHASIS LAUNCHES ASP OUTSOURCING: Mphasis, which provides information technology and business process outsourcing through its operations in India, has launched an application service provider model of its Virtual Tax Room, used in outsourcing tax return preparation.

Previously, data sent to Mphasis was transferred to India. Using an ASP model means that tax data will be accessed via the Internet and will not leave the United States, according to a spokesman. The ASP system is designed to give accountants a greater sense of security regarding client data. CPAs will be able to direct and manage all remote processes. The system provides real-time tracking of returns and ensures a complete audit trail.

Outsourcing services include 1040 preparation, including relevant state and city returns. Mphasis plans to begin offering outsourced preparation of Forms 1041, 1065 and 1120. The company also offers bookkeeping and technology infrastructure services.

BEST NAMES JIMISON GM OF SPECIALIZED BUSINESS SOLUTIONS: Best Software has appointed Ray Jimison as senior vice president and general manager of its Specialized Business Solutions Unit.

In his new role, Jimison will be responsible for strategic, operational and technology planning for the company's specialized solutions, including Abra HRMS, Analytics, Carpe Diem, CPASoftware, FAS and TimeSheet Professional, as well as the Best Software Accountants (BSAN) program.

He replaces Himanshu Palsule, who last month was promoted to the position of senior vice president and general manager for Mid-Market Accounting Solutions, focused on the MAS and BusinessWorks product lines.

Jimison, a six-year Best veteran, was formerly vice president and general manager for the CPASoftware product line. Before serving in that position, he was vice president and general manager of the BusinessWorks product line.

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