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Paceline Angles for Buyout

These are sub-zero days for InfiniBand startups, and the latest to get caught in the cold is Paceline Systems Corp., which is actively seeking to get acquired or line up a strategic investor.

Barry Kallander, Paceline's president and CEO, says the company decided in early December to pursue an M&A strategy, "given the continued weakness in the economy and the InfiniBand market specifically."

The Acton, Mass., startup has "talked to every significant player in InfiniBand and the Tier 1 systems vendors," says Kallander, who claims that at least one major systems company is showing interest. Paceline makes intelligent InfiniBand switches designed to cluster servers in high-performance computing environments (see IB Startups Gear Up).

In recent weeks Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) has been kicking the tires on the company, says a former Paceline employee, who did not want to be named. The source says, however, that Sun is interested mainly in acquiring Paceline's intellectual property: "They wouldn't bring over any of the employees." Sun representatives declined to comment; Kallander would not confirm whether Sun is one of the parties it's in talks with.

It's worth pointing out that Pirus Networks, the storage virtualization switch startup Sun bought for $165 million in September 2002, was located down the road from Paceline in Acton's Nagog Park business park (see Sun Beams on Pirus).

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