Quest Software Inc. (Nasdaq: QSFT) announced Thursday it acquired Wingra Technologies for an undisclosed amount of cash, marking the second time in five years the Madison firm has been purchased by a significantly larger West Coast software company.

Quest, of Irvine, Calif., employs about 2,250 and recorded revenue of $304.2 million in 2003. Wingra has a staff of 21 and its 2004 revenue topped $4 million, up from $3.5 million in '03.

While Wingra's last sale, to Commtouch Software, was a debacle, company president and chief executive Jan Eddy said she believes the Quest deal will be a boon for the firm, which specializes in developing large-scale e-mail management software.

"I am not concerned about losing our Madison facility at all. In fact, I'm sure we'll be growing it," she said. "(Quest has) development shops all over the world, actually, and that's primarily what we do here, so I'm sure that's what we'll continue to do."

After Commtouch stock fell from $13.81 when its purchase of Wingra Technologies was first announced to 29 cents a share following the collapse of the dot-com bubble, Eddy and Wingra chief technology officer Steven Entine bought the company back in 2002. She held 75 percent of the firm, and he held 25 percent.

Taking employee stock options into account, Eddy estimated she held between 63 and 65 percent, Entine 20 to 21 percent and other employees' between 16 and 18 percent of Wingra Technologies when it was purchased by Quest.

It was a mutual customer who first brought the two companies together. Eddy said negotiations progressed quickly once face-to-face talks with Quest began in October.

While her future with the company is unclear after the integration process is finished, she said she's looking forward to finding a new role within Quest.

Eddy said she believes the deal bodes well for other technology companies in the region.

"What it shows is that a company in Madison, Wisconsin, was able to capture the attention of a very large worldwide software company who thought highly enough of our technology and our people that they were willing to part with part of their assets to bring us into the fold."

Quest Software did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

\ Contact Andrew Wallmeyer at awallmeyer@madison.com or 252-6123.

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