Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sold 49.3 million shares of company stock in November. At prices between US$26-28 per share, the sale totaled $1.3 billion and cuts his stake in the company by about 12%. Ballmer cited the move as a “personal financial matter” on the company’s website, but assured that his first stock sale in seven years should not be taken as a lack of confidence in Microsoft. “I am excited about our new products and the potential for our technology to change people’s lives, and I remain fully committed to Microsoft and its success,” he wrote. Ballmer also said he plans to sell up to 75 million shares by the end of the year, which would result in a total reduction in shares held of 18%, based on the 408 million shares he held before the sales in November, Reuters reported.
Oracle will buy Art Technology Group (ATG) for US$1 billion in cash to enhance its e-commerce software applications. ATG creates software that helps businesses interact with online shoppers. The purchase price for the Cambridge, Mass.-based company is $6 per share, a premium for shares that have not traded above $5 since 2001. The deal needs shareholder and regulatory approval, but Oracle expects to complete the deal by early next year.
Separately, Art Technology Group reported results for the third quarter with a net income of US$4.2 million, or $.03 per share. ATG’s net income was $4 million the same time last year. Its revenue of $50.3 million is up 16% from a year ago.
Dell will buy Boomi, a Berwyn, Pa.-based cloud computing services company, to enhance its ability to provide software over computer networks. Terms of the deal were not disclosed for Boomi, which possesses technologies for integrating cloud-based applications and smooth data transfers between programs.
Cloud Sherpas, a provider of software and services for Google Apps, has closed a round of funding of US$1.6 million. The company will use the money to develop vertical-market applications for its cloud-hosted collaboration suite. The new applications will focus on companies in industries such as retail, real estate and manufacturing, Cloud Sherpas said. The company will also continue to enhance its IT management tool, SherpaTools. The latest round brings Cloud Sherpas’ total funding to $3, including a $1 million round in May.
Symbian has received a US$31 million boost from the Artemis Joint Technology Initiative, a European Commission-backed public-private partnership that funds embedded computing projects. The money will be used for the development of next-generation technologies for the Symbian platform. The Symbian Foundation will head the development with a consortium of 24 organizations from eight European countries.