Software Toolworks Goes Public Via Utah Merger

Software Toolworks, the Sherman Oaks maker of personal computer software controlled by Les Crane, a former television talk show host and actor, has gone public through a merger with a Utah shell company.

By merging with Deseret-Western Venture Capital, Software Toolworks will receive an infusion of $4 million and will have about 693 million shares outstanding, which Crane said trade over the counter at about 2 to 3 cents each.

Crane owns more than half the stock and will be chief executive of the public company. He said his company went public to raise money to keep expanding. The company may consider a reverse stock split, in which it would reduce the number of shares outstanding, he said.

Crane said Software Toolworks earned about $450,000 in the nine months ended Dec. 31 on revenue of $2.6 million, adding that both figures are about double those of a year earlier. He said that the company's best-selling computer chess program, "Chessmaster 2000," has sold about 230,000 copies to date and that a new typing program, "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing," is nearing 100,000 units sold.

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