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Sun buys server firm and rehires co-founder

Sun Microsystems has agreed to acquire Kealia, a privately held server design company based in California, and is rehiring one of...

Sun Microsystems has agreed to acquire Kealia, a privately held server design company based in California, and...

is rehiring one of Sun's cofounders to help design the company's high-volume servers.

Andy Bechtolsheim, Kealia's cofounder and chief executive, helped found Sun two decades ago while studying at Stanford University with Scott McNealy, Sun's chairman, president and chief executive officer. He led a team that designed Sun's workstations, which was its mainstay business at the time.

He will return to Sun as chief architect of its Volume Systems Products Group, where he will help design Sun's emerging family of servers based on Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processor and Intel's Xeon chip.

The acquisition came about as a result of a recent reunion for Sun's four cofounders.

"Andy and I started talking, one thing led to another and suddenly Sun bought Kealia," McNealy said.

Sun will acquire Kealia in a stock-for-stock merger that is expected to close in the third or fourth quarter of Sun's 2004 financial year - or by the end of June - subject to standard closing conditions. Financial terms were not released.

If the merger goes through, Kealia will become the Advanced Systems Technology group within Sun's Volume Systems Products Group. Bechtolsheim will become a senior vice president and chief architect within the Volume Systems Products group. He will also join Sun's executive management group, led by McNealy.

Bechtolsheim left Sun to work at Granite Systems, which was later acquired by Cisco Systems in the mid-1990s. He left Cisco to start Kealia, which began life developing media server technologies.

James Niccolai writes for IDG News Service

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