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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Authentidate sells local holdings

Authentidate Holding Corp. is severing its last ties to the Capital Region.
The Berkeley Heights, N.J., company, formerly known as Bitwise Designs Inc., is selling its local operations to a management group for $8.5 million.

Those operations include DocStar, a document management company, and Computer Systems International, a computer networking firm. Both operate from a building located at the Riverside Technology Park in Schenectady.

The buyout group is being led by Tom Franceski, who is president of DocStar and CSI, and Gregg Laird, who is director of marketing.

Reached Wednesday, Laird declined to comment about the transaction. Franceski could not be reached for comment.

Authentidate was launched as Bitwise Designs in Troy two decades ago, assembling personal computers on demand.

It later moved its operations to Schenectady, but after new management took over two years ago, the company's headquarters were moved to New Jersey. About 65 employees work locally.

Authentidate said the local group would be paying the company $7 million in cash, and the remaining $1.5 million will be financed with a 15-year note.

Authentidate CEO Suren Pai said a definitive agreement between the two parties is expected to be reached within a few weeks.

Pai said the company's security software unit, which makes an electronic postmark for the U.S. Postal Service, will continue to be run out of the New Jersey and Germany offices. He said the decision to sell the two Capital Region units was part of an effort to focus the company's business on that security software unit. The company lost $17.8 million in its last fiscal year.

He said that the Schenectady operations account for about 65 percent of Authentidate's annual revenues, which comes to about $10.4 million.

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