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Palm Pilot to pay $254 million for Boise's Extended Systems

BOISE — The California company that made Palm Pilot a household name is buying Extended Systems Inc. for about $264 million.

Palm Inc. officials said on Tuesday they hope to retain most Boise-based employees and run the business under Extended Systems' chief executive officer, Steve Simpson.

The agreement says Extended Systems' stockholders will receive shares of Palm equal in value to their shares in Extended Systems priced at $22 a share. The deal must be approved by holders for both companies.

"We would expect to see greater growth in the future," Simpson said about the potential for additional jobs in Boise. "This move is a natural evolution as we join to create one end-to-end solution from a single vendor. It's a win-win for customers, employees, and stockholders."

Both Simpson and Palm's chief executive officer Carl Yankowski said Extended's experience with mobile and so-called Bluetooth products will help Palm to expand. Bluetooth is the industry term for a technology aimed at unifying the wireless and computing industries.

Extended Systems was founded in 1984 by Gary Atkins, a former Hewlett-Packard Co. employee in Boise. The company specializes in hardware and software designs for the mobile world. Over the last 12 months, the company's stock has gone from $126 a share to $22.

Extended Systems will become a local division of Palm and part of Palm's Enterprise Solutions Group — one of three strategic groups that Palm has created for focusing business for customers.