Funding Pact Boosts MarchFIRST

MarchFIRST (Nasdaq: MRCH)picked up 9/32 to 1 29/32 Thursday after the Internet services company saidit secured a US$150 million investment from a private equity firm.

In return, MarchFIRST said it will sell Francisco Partners convertiblepreferred stock that could give the firm a stake of up to 32 percent in thecompany.

David Stanton, a partner and founder of Francisco Partners, said that MarchFIRST’s “experienced management team, talented professionals, breadth and depth of service offerings, strong client base and proven track record” should helpthe company” become a long-term leader in the e-services marketplace.

“We plan to actively support MarchFIRST as it deepens relationships withexisting clients and pursues high-value opportunities with leadingorganizations in key vertical industries,” Stanton said.

“Francisco Partners is a $2.5 billion private equity firm, and its foundersare well-established investment and technology professionals,” saidmarchFIRST chairman and chief executive officer Robert Bernard. “MarchFIRSThas gained not only an investor, but also a strategic adviser with anexpansive partner network and an excellent reputation.”

Added Bernard, “This relationship provides us with the financial flexibility we sought toexecute our global client relationship business model.”

The company expects to complete the transaction by year’s end. In themeantime, Francisco Partners will provide $25 million in interim financing.

Francisco Partners focuses on structured investments in technology. Thecompany’s holdings include Globe Span, Inc., Paradyne, Legerity and Zilog.

Despite the small gain, the stock price for MarchFIRST remains far below its 52-week high of 72 15/16. In November, the company cut 1,000 jobs in a bid to lower operating expenses.

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