CUC Agrees to Acquire Berkeley Systems Inc.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Continuing its shopping binge in the entertainment software industry, Connecticut-based CUC International has agreed to acquire Berkeley Systems Inc., a maker of popular games and computer screen savers.

Up to a third of Berkeley Systems' 120 employees will be laid off after the acquisition, according to company spokeswoman Monica Granados. Terms of the deal, which is scheduled to be completed Friday, were not disclosed.

Berkeley Systems, a 10-year-old privately held company based in Berkeley, is best known for its "You Don't Know Jack" CD-ROM trivia games and its After Dark screen savers that feature flying toasters and other irreverent images.

Julie Wainwright, chief executive of Berkeley, is expected to leave the company after serving as an advisor during the transition. Chris Deyo, a marketing executive with Berkeley, has been named general manager of the unit and will report to executives at Sierra Online, another game company acquired by CUC last year.

The Berkeley acquisition is the latest in a flurry of recent purchases that have moved CUC, a marketing company that provides members with discount coupons for such things as travel and dining, to the top of the entertainment software business.

On Wednesday, CUC shares fell 25 cents to close at $23.125 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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