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April 23, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:19pm

CITRIX AIMS TO CALM INVESTOR’S FEARS: ACQUISITIONS IMMINENT?

By CBR Staff Writer

Citrix Systems Inc was basking in the acclaim lavished upon it by its shareholders in a call for investors yesterday, after it reported strong first quarter figures. However, a few did express their anxiety, having included a stock in their portfolio that lost more than 60% in one day in late February when news broke of Microsoft Corp’s work on its Hydra multi-user Windows NT extensions, treading all over Citrix’s WinFrame product’s toes and putting future licensing by Microsoft of WinFrame, and therefore the company’s future in serious doubt: I just want to know what happened to me, spluttered one exasperated shareholder. Apart from first-quarter net income up 163% at $7.5m, or $0.26 per share, on revenues up 177% at $21.5m, Fort Lauderdale-based Citrix also had $148m in cash at the end of the first quarter and no debt; not bad for a company that’s done revenues of $58.3m in the past four consecutive quarters combined. And this has obviously not escaped the attention of the Citrix board. But Citrix chief financial officer dismissed the possibility of a share buy-back, as was suggested by one investor as a way of rewarding its shareholders. Instead, he said acquisitions would benefit shareholders most and he expected mergers and acquisitions as time progresses. He declined to elaborate further other than to say that it could acquire both new technologies as well as new channels. He specifically refused to comment on rumors that Citrix is in talks to acquire its Florida neighbor, NetWise Distribution Systems Inc and its clean-room Java implementation. Clearwater-based NetWise hasn’t returned any of our calls yet. The fact that Citrix’s talks at Redmond are still ongoing hamstrung management on the call, but chairman and chief technical officer Ed Iacobucci, who has spent a lot of the past few weeks holed up at Redmond, said he remained cautiously optimistic about a successful resolution as Citrix sees it. There are two issues at stake in the talks: whether Microsoft will license the WinFrame NT extensions in the future, and whether it will grant Citrix a license to NT 4.0, both of which are still in the balance and out of bounds as far as public discussion goes, according to Citrix. The company said the beta version of WinFrame 2.0 is out at 500 active testers and is still slated for delivery this half. The product is not ready yet, and could be hampered by the Microsoft talks, but chief executive Roger Roberts revealed that the company is looking at alternative ways to deliver core WinFrame technology to our customers, without elaborating further. He did say however that some of the bigger deals in the pipe may take a few weeks more to resolve than before, as corporate IS managers get a bit nervous about such uncertainty. Iacobucci said that Sears, Roebuck & Co resigned its license in the darkest days of the quarter. ICA (Intelligent Console Architecture) licenses were also inked with Motorola Inc, Psion Plc, Telechips and Cubix in the period. However, Roberts said most of Citrix deal size remains at the departmental level. The Java ICA client that will enable any client running a Java virtual machine (JVM) to access Windows NT applications is now in beta, and slated for release some time this year, and will be featured on Sun Microsystems’s JavaStations. In terms of revenue split, WinFrame packaged product accounted for 66%; WinFrame OEM deals 28%, services 4% and WinView, the remote Windows access product accounted for 2%. International sales made up 14% of the total. Some investors were concerned about the presence of Microsoft treasurer Greg Maffei on the Citrix board given the potential conflict of interest, but Iacobucci said Maffei is not directly involved in the talks, and the management is recommending shareholders vote in favor of the nominated slate, which includes Maffei. He also said there is currently a moratorium on management selling it’s stock. But on the question that drove Citrix’s stock down recently, Iacobucci was adamant. Do you have a viable entity regardless of the outcome [of the Mic

rosoft talks]? he was asked. Absolutely, he fired back.

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